Author Resources
Free Publishing Guide

Take Aim & Sell Books

by Jessica May, AuthorHouse Marketing Department

The colorful papier-mâché creature looms above you as you take hold of the bat. Clutching the handle ever so tightly, you know you will be able to bust the fragile shell wide open, exposing mounds of glorious sugar-filled treats. As you tense in preparation of your first swing, Billy’s mom ties a blindfold around your eyes while spinning you in circles. You have no idea where your target has gone, and the rewards that hung inches from your nose are now lost in darkened dizziness.

Taking Aim

Darkened dizziness is not the place you want to find your bookselling budget. Take hold of the bat (or pen) and create goals for yourself. Make a list of marketing ventures you would like to take. Putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) was the most important step in publishing your book, and it's an equally large step in setting marketing goals. Some of the goals might include:

  • participating in a certain number of book signings
  • sending out a set number of press releases
  • attending and promoting your book at trade shows
  • selling a certain number of books while only spending a certain amount of money

After setting goals, it is best to think about setting a budget. You may find it difficult to set a budget the first time you try to reach your goals. The unknown success of each venture may create a barrier in figuring out where to allocate the money. Do some research and keep your target audience in mind. This will help give you a good foundation for figuring out the budget.

The Sweet Spot

If you are already going strong with a “sweet” lineup of marketing/bookselling tools, don’t be afraid to try something new. Having a core set of methods is a great plan, but throwing something new into the mix might give your campaign a boost. Keeping track of any changes you make to your plan is very important. You may very well find a tool or method that works better for your book. Keeping in mind only to add one new thing to the mix at a time will help you pinpoint any differences in your bookselling totals.

Don’t Let Disorganization Blindfold You

There are many ways to keep track of your spending and marketing ventures. From paper-and-pencil bookkeeping to using a spreadsheet application like Microsoft Excel, every author will find his or her own useful method. No matter what method you choose, make sure to record every minute marketing move you make. Every phone call, letter, or e-mail can lead to a sale. Stay organized and watch your book sales total rise!

Swing Away!

Your target is in sight with the goals you have set and the budget you have planned. You have located the sweet spot by creating a good mix of marketing ventures. Your unparalleled organizational skills allow you to clearly see if your spending is being allocated to the proper areas. Now, with all of these things in place, take a deep breath, tighten your grip, and rip that bookselling piñata wide open!