Don’t Underestimate Your Local Market when it comes to Book Sales

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Bill Feader Jr. and Senior – manager/owner of FP Foods in Port Alice, BC pose for a photo shoot with Disappearing in Plain Sight.

Going into my self-publishing adventure, I imagined sales would come from people ordering my book from Amazon or Chapters. To be honest, I thought mostly of e-book sales. I knew I was going to get some trade paperback copies of my book as part of my publishing package, but I certainly never considered buying boxes of my book and acting as a vendor to sell them.

All of that changed when I received those copies and it was mostly due to my husband, Bruce – salesperson extraordinaire. He started to sell those books every time he went out the door. Before I knew it, we needed to order more and then even more. At first, the sales were to people Bruce ran into in the regular course of his day. Then I got on board with some author appearances and events. Now, sales are happening right in our local community grocery story.

Bruce approached manager Bill Faeder Jr. of FP Foods in Port Alice to ask if he would carry Disappearing in Plain Sight. Bill was open to the idea. He wanted to start off small, taking a few books at a time and seeing how it went. After the sixth invoice, he has decided to take a bigger order.

IMG_0229In book marketing, creating a buzz is the key to sales. I think that’s what has happened in Port Alice for Disappearing in Plain Sight. And many thanks go out to the people who work at FP Foods. I know that a few of them have read my book and are quite willing to promote it to others.

 

Don’t ignore sales of real books in your local market. Every day I hear stories of self-published authors who have sold what is a fantasy-like number (to me anyways) of e-books, making it to the top of Amazon lists, burrowing deep into Amazon’s mysterious and massive marketing machine and telling others how they can do the same. I give e-sales my best effort and don’t get me wrong – I value every single reader – no matter how they get hold of my book. But, I must say, there is something to be said for local community support. These are the people I see when I get my mail or buy my groceries or sit in the doctor’s office. It’s hard to find the words to express what those readers mean to me. (And that’s not an easy admission for a writer!)

A friend told me he was talking to someone in town the other day who informed him, “We even have our own local author now.” And that was me! Wow.

On September 12th, I’ll be attending a book club at the Port Alice Library to discuss Disappearing in Plain Sight. I’m looking forward to this event because it will be assumed people have read the book and no one will have to worry about spoiler alerts. I’ve been coming up with a few discussion questions in case of a lag in the conversation. Is there a question about Disappearing in Plain Sight that you would like me to include? Let me know.

On another topic, I was reminded of Lily Tomlin’s words this morning. “The road to success is always under construction.” First thing this morning, I checked out the Kindle Book Review’s 2013 Best Indie Book Award site because today the five finalists in each category were to be named. Disappearing in Plain Sight didn’t make the cut in literary fiction. (Cue sound effects: wailing and gnashing of teeth.) Oh well – many congratulations to all the finalists. Do go to the link above and check them out

Meanwhile, I’ll be back to Tomlin’s construction site to finish The Light Never Lies and enter it in next year’s competition. But first, I have to get out and pick those green beans.

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Just glad the beans are out the back. I wouldn’t want to step out the kitchen door and fight this guy for the apples.

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14 comments on “Don’t Underestimate Your Local Market when it comes to Book Sales

  1. The Citizen says:

    Congratulations on your book sales! I wonder if your husband courted you like this. Husband: “Say yes, and you’ll see the book you’ve been dreaming to write in every store you go to.”
    😀

    And just like the person whom your friend talked to, I would also be thrilled to know a local author.

    Good luck on “The Light Never Dies.”

    • Bruce certainly would have got my attention with an offering like that! I think it was more along the lines of – I support your need to spend years as a graduate student even though you are already well past the average age for such things. LOL. Thanks for the well wishes.

  2. Roy McCarthy says:

    I still have books in boxes and just can’t get interested in shifting them. I should just give them to some young person to hawk around on a 50% commission or something.
    Is that a real bear?!

    • Yes . . . it is a real bear. This guy is pretty bold and when it comes to the apple tree, doesn’t like me blowing the air horn at him. That’s why he looks so peevish. You might be onto something getting a young person to hawk your book on commission, plus the added perk of creating employment.

  3. I have great fun selling mine at events, talks, conferences, over thel unch table, on the plane – everywhere. And they’re great marketing tools

    • My favourite sale, so far, was to a lady sitting next to my daughter and I at Bingo one night. She got so interested in our conversation about the book that she wanted to buy one. It is great fun.

  4. Maggie Flostrand. says:

    Greetings Fran, from Maggie.

    I hope to be at your book talk at the library on Sept: 12th what time will it be?
    A question for you- which comes first – the characters or the plot, and how do you mesh it all together.
    Happy harvesting in your garden, luckily the bears have not visited our plot this year – not yet anyway.

    • I think the Library book club event is set for 7:00 pm. For me, characters almost always come first and as I get to know them, they drive the plot. As for meshing things together – whew – still trying to figure that one out. Looking forward to great questions like this on the 12th.

  5. jennieorbell says:

    How lucky are you Francis in having such a helpful husband! You seem so confident at selling your book. I am truly hopeless at it. So, continued great book sales – go for it x

    • I really have to force myself and then, after the fact, I am so glad I did. But of course, human nature being what it is, I always have to force myself. Why is that? Thanks for the well wishes Jennie.

  6. Gwen Stephens says:

    Fran, I’m so glad to hear local sales are taking off. If I’m ever in your position someday, I’m married to a salesperson extraordinaire as well. Will definitely keep that in mind. What I’ve learned through the blogging network and conferences is this: all authors, even those newly published through the traditional route, need to assume the lion’s share of promoting their work. It’s part of the job description these days. The industry is in complete upheaval, and there are no hard and fast rules anymore, so authors like yourself are the trailblazers for those of us who will follow. I think you’re doing everything right. You’re connecting with readers, showing people the real person behind the book, and building those relationships are the key to your sales. Not the hard sell, the relentless Tweets (can’t stand those people – I unfollow anyone who Tweets a few times an hour – what the hell are they doing all day?)

    Can’t wait to hear about the library discussion on Sept 12.

    • I’ve heard that bit about all authors having to do promotion. I read the other day, that many traditional publishers won’t even look at an author if he or she doesn’t already have a well established social media platform. Well – we’ve got that going for us, don’t we? I’ll have a whole post on the library discussion.

    • Hey Gwen – good grief – I just lost my whole reply to you. Connection problems. I have heard about even traditionally published authors having to do their own promotion. I read the other day, that traditional publishers won’t even look at a new author unless he or she had a well established social media platform. Well – we have that base covered! I’ll do a whole post on the library discussion.

  7. You may be ‘under construction’ but it’s wonderful you’re experiencing spurts of success along the way. Good for you. All your hard work is paying off. And, I have huge respect for your husband as well. Carry on!!

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