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!