Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Sell your book direct to consumer


Summertime is a great time to get in front of people and sell your book directly to them.  Direct sales offer higher margins and returns, create opportunities to meet your customers, and allow you to personalize books while taking pictures for your social media sites.  No one can talk about your book and the story behind it as well as you can.  After all, your book is the culmination of your hard work and creative ideas.

There are a a multitude of venues, events, and markets where you can set up and sell your book.  Take the appropriate steps to ensure it is ok for you to sell somewhere so you avoid potential problems with the venue.  Make sure you are prepared and ready to go so your sales efforts will be smooth and efficient.  Some things that will be helpful while you are selling your book direct to consumer:

  • Appropriate amount of product to sell
  • Cash so you can make change if necessary 
  • Credit card swiper that attaches to your smart phone--Personally I like Pay Pal but "Square" or something like that is also ok
  • Pens for signing books
  • Plenty of business cards and some fun marketing cards--Consider adding a QR code on them for your website, facebook, twitter etc.  Someone can scan the code with their smart phone and they will be directed to your pages with ease.  I have used the above card which includes 3 QR codes for my different social media sites.  
  • Sign up sheets for you to collect customers information for your database.  This way you can contact them with a newsletter, updates for future events, and fun facts about the business in general.  
It is important to diversify your sales efforts.  Meaning it is good to sell to stores, work with wholesalers and distributors, and also sell direct to consumer.  A major benefit of direct sales is that there is no waiting period to get paid like there is with a wholesaler.  Once you swipe your customers card the revenue will be immediately available to you which can be very helpful for a new business needing to balance their cash flow.  

Pay Pal has helped me simplify the transactional component to my sales efforts.  They offer a reasonable flat fee and take a small percentage of each sale.  There are no hidden fees or surprises with them...which I love.  While looking for a merchant vendor be careful as there can be hidden fees and sometimes delays in receiving payments.  Pay Pal offers a credit card so the minute you swipe and make a sale the money automatically goes on your card.  You can keep it on the card to use for business expenses or you can transfer the money to your bank accounts.
Remember to tap into your existing networks for chances to sell direct to consumer.  For example, I  donated books to The Chicago Firefighter's Widow Fund.  As a result I was invited to their annual family picnic where I set up a table and sold a good amount of books to the families there.  I brought my life sized Chloey the Pug mascot for fun, had a chance to meet the kids, sign their books, take pictures with them, and we had a great time!  It is days like that I realize how lucky I am to be able to say, "This is my job, and I love it!"

If you have any questions or want to know more about choosing the right place to sell your book directly, or the right steps to take please let me know.

And don't forget to WRITE, WRITE, WRITE!


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Power of Social Media


I never thought I would be so heavily involved in social media.  I have always valued my privacy and the thought of putting myself and business/book out into the world for all to see was definitely scary.  Scary or not....using social media for marketing and selling your book is vital.

While I am no social media pro yet, I have seen my efforts begin to "pay-off" both personally and for my book and business.  I began with  Facebook;, then Linkedin, this blog, and I recently joined Twitter;  Create profiles that will grab attention and be creative but honest. It requires a lot of work and some trial and error to keep your social media platforms updated, so make sure you have some fun while you are doing it.  If you are unsure about how some of these sites work consider reaching out to some local schools/colleges to find someone who can help you.

For example: On Twitter I began "following" and was then "followed" by some Pug and dog rescue groups who have ordered books from me and even invited me to their events....The Pug Rescue group invited us to sign and sell books at the Milwaukee Pug Festival later this month. Teaming up with the right people and groups will be essential as you share and sell your book.  I quickly learned that my book did not only appeal to parents buying it for their kids but for Pug and dog lovers too.

On Facebook I set up a personal page first.  I thought this would help me connect with people from my past and in my life now, and it did.  I began to re connect with people and let them know about Pug Story etc.  Seek out certain groups and or people that will reciprocate your efforts and help raise awareness about you and your book.

Linkedin is a great networking site.  I have worked with some wonderful people in all facets of my business with whom I connected. You can find just about anyone or anything you might need for your business on this platform and in return the right people can find you and learn more about your book.

Keep your posts, tweets etc. relevant and interesting.  Let people know who you are and what you are all about.  Make sure to use fun and appropriate pictures to illustrate and highlight you and your book.  Offer poignant tips and helpful information as you go so as not to simply promote yourself but truly offer your following something they might not have gotten anywhere else.

Social media can be a lucrative and wonderful sales vehicle if used properly.  The reach, exposure, and rapid sharing of information, for free I might add, far exceeds that of traditional marketing or advertising strategies.  There are webinars, seminars, literature etc. to help us understand how these platforms work and how we can make them work for us as self-published authors.  If you have a website,, make sure you link up all of your social media sites with it as one platform should funnel into the next ever so seamlessly.

Hopefully some of this was helpful but if you would like more detailed or specific information please contact me and let me know how I can help.

Dont forget to WRITE, WRITE, WRITE!


Friday, March 22, 2013

Be back soon!

Hi All,

I am so very sorry I have not posted new information during the last few weeks.  I am pleased to say it is because Pug Story has been busier than ever at reading, events, and planning for upcoming events.

I so appreciate all of my viewers and promise to offer some helpful tips in my next entry on how to use social media as a cost effective and efficient way to reach your new market and get your book in the pipelines.

Coming soon so make sure to check back in the next few days and keep up the great work!


Saturday, February 2, 2013

UPC and ISBN for your book


Because this can be such a busy time for a newly self-published author I want to make sure the below details don't slip through the cracks as you begin talking to retailers.
  • Obtain ISBN (International Standard Book Number)-- This is how retailers etc. can locate and verify your book. 
  • Obtain UPC/bar code--this is how retailers can scan your product easily.
  • List price of book
All 3 of these numbers must be combined on the sticker or embedded in the bottom right side of the back of the book or in the dust jacket, particularly for the big box stores.  Below are two great sites for information and obtaining the numbers you need.           Here is an example:

  • Secure any appropriate trademarks and copyrights for your book and list them on one of the first interior pages.  Below are two great resources for learning about how to protect your IP (Intellectual Property)

If you have not embedded this info into the book you can still get a sticker from one of the above mentioned companies.  Next time I want to write about continuing to market your book and how to get it out there!  I will be starting another Kickstarter campaign soon to raise funds for book 2 in the Pug Story series, so I will be offering specific do's and don't about that process.  

I hope you all will continue to send me your thoughts, feedback, and stories.  I am here to help you on your journey in any way I can because I know that YOU CAN DO IT!

Don't forget to WRITE,WRITE,WRITE!  

Like I tell my kids at readings etc. 


Friday, January 25, 2013

Promote your book readings

Hi there,

Here is an example of a marketing material I am using to promote an upcoming reading.  As I mentioned in my last post make sure to cross promote yourself and the store.  You can send out e-mail blasts, social media alerts, and pass them out in person.

Set up book readings and signings


Let's talk a bit about how to begin marketing your book.  Hopefully by now you have made some sales to your close circle of friends, family, and local shops etc.  This will give you some great feedback and the confidence to start setting up readings and signings.  Bonus:  You can sell signed copies when you do readings (unless the place you're reading at sells them).

Remember, when you are reading to kids and trying to keep them engaged you have to be outgoing,  comical, animated and get them involved when possible.  There is nothing more boring then someone who just blandly reads the book.  You can be sure to see some restless audience members.

Create and distribute marketing materials cross-promoting your reading and book title with the place you will be doing the reading.  Create a win-win, meaning your presence and reading will give you and the store more exposure.  Start by searching for places you think would be a good fit do to your reading.  Just pick up the phone or go in person and talk to the decision maker about doing a reading or fun event there.  Let them know you will be marketing on their behalf and that you will provide a unique and fun experience.  

Send the info for reading via your social media platforms, print appropriately sized marketing materials and hand them out, ask local stores to keep them at register etc. Get the word out there.

Get creative with how you read your book to kids. Kids love to laugh and be engaged so try to bring them into the story if you can.  It can be as simple as asking them to make sounds during certain parts of the book, clap their hands, yell whooohoo...anything that makes them feel included.  I promise once you have done your first reading you will never want to stop!

Check back soon for tips on how to get media coverage for your book and how to build a great social media platform.

Don't for to WRITE, WRITE, WRITE