Finding peripheral sales channels for your book #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

Finding peripheral sales channels for your book #bookmarketing #marketing #indieauthors

At the 2016 Writer’s Digest Conference, keynote and Newbery Medal author Kwame Alexander recounted his long road to success. One of the parts of his journey that stuck out for me was when he decided to sell his children’s picture book Acoustic Rooster and his Barnyard Band at farmers’ markets. I don’t trust my memory, but according to a Publishers Weekly article, he sold $1,000 worth of books in a few hours, so he booked many more market days.

This is a great example of lateral thinking, of finding a peripheral sales channel to where you would normally sell books. In Alexander’s case, his book’s theme fit right in with farmers’ markets, which also shared his target demographic: parents.

The trick to finding peripheral sales channels is to think, “Where would my book complement what is already being sold?” If your book is set in a particular city, a table at a street festival in that city with the right signage could be the ticket. You could even collaborate with other local authors (and share costs) in order to make the table a bigger draw. “New fiction set in Seattle, written by Seattleites.” I would visit that table.

If your book speaks to a particular cause, find out which smaller celebrities share your views and passion for this cause. If you find a local band, ask if you can sell your books at a table at their concerts for some quid pro quo. Maybe in exchange, you’ll sell their CDs at other events you’re tabling at, or add links within your book as a recommended soundtrack to accompany reading.

If your genre is mystery, horror, or thriller, think about opportunities around Halloween. Are there events you could sell your books at, again, perhaps partnering with other authors? My city does an annual posh do at our art gallery. It’s a place where people are mingling, cash in hand for overpriced cocktails. And while they’re browsing the art on the walls, would they be interested in hearing about your form of written art?

Finding peripheral sales channels for your book. #bookmarketing #marketing #indieauthorsThere will be some trial and error, but to cut down on the error, really think about your marketing strategy and all the logistics going in. If you’re at a Halloween bash, should you be in a great costume in addition to your concise and attractive signage? If you’re at a concert, are you really happy with that table where no one can see you, or could you be closer to where there’s lots of traffic, like near a bar or washroom? Is it possible to add a mini-lounge area (a couple of chairs) where readers can take a load off and read your first pages prior to investing in the whole book? And have you set up and practiced with the software you’ll need to accept all forms of payment? Look into an app like Square Up, and have a sufficient float so that you’re never stuck saying, “Can you wait while I find change?” Have you figured out how to email redemption codes to those purchasing the e-version? Don’t expect people to remember their Amazon login or to even be comfortable typing their password onto your laptop. And do you have enough hard-copy books to sell? If you’re expecting a lot of traffic, have you pre-signed copies, or do you have a friend who can handle transactions while you’re custom-signing each copy as they are purchased?

This post is part of the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop. So many great blogs to keep hopping through. Click here to join the hop and to see what other writing tips you can glean from this month’s edition.

Can you think of any peripheral sales channels for your book? Care to share in the comments? Have you ever tried selling your book in a place where books aren’t the main focus?

Thank you to Freepik for the image I used in this post.

49 thoughts on “Finding peripheral sales channels for your book #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

  1. I gave a short talk in a town hall about the real history behind my books and sold every book I’d brought with me. I could hardly sign them fast enough, so next time I’ll do it in advance!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve gone to various ladies’ luncheons and at the birthday functions (the month the group was started in) they usually have tables arranged around the room where various things are sold – including jewelry, scarves and even cookbooks. I’m sure if your novel is something they’d read, you’ll have lots of sales. Be personable and answer all questions – it’s like having a book signing. (I’ve seen, though, that having card swiping facilities are a bonus when selling books, mostly because books are generally more expensive than the couple of scarves or whatever they were going to buy and offering an alternative payment method to cash can make a reluctant buyer buy your book.)

    Thanks for sharing, Raimey 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This past May I participated in a local downtown event for vendors. I worked the bookstore table and had my books there. I think it worked out well since people could cruise around the different vendors and browse my books too. Great post Raimey 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Peripheral sales markets are SO important! My books are about highly devout pagan characters so I’m planning to do the circuit of Pagan pub moots and festivals next summer (too broke to make it to more than a couple this year).

    Liked by 2 people

  5. This is great! It’s a think outside the box kind of situation and I’m starting to think about how to promote my book when it’s complete. Local events can be great if you manage to target the right ones for you and your book. 🙂 I’m going to the WD conference in October. Hope to get even more out of this conference. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. As always, great marketing tips, Raimey! These strategies would definitely work wonders in building up excellent PR for an author. Another option I can think of is to take advantage of the “local celebrity” status; i.e to further your point on setting up localized street vending based on story-setting: as most authors tend to frequent certain local public places most often while writing (such as favorite coffee shops, libraries, parks), building up on that by having a sales table in these spaces to draw community support might also be an option and steady channel of revenue. Of course, it could also backfire if, upon gaining the local celebrity status, fans start to constantly interrupt the author’s writing process while in said coffee shop… *nervous laugh*

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Wow, great ideas! Thank you! I am actually starting a newsletter in November aimed at the polyamorous community since my erotic romance is typically polyamorous. I feel like it will give me a way to let people know who I am. I won’t be using it to market, per se, but more to network and get to know people. I hadn’t even realized what I was doing, but now you’ve sparked even more ideas for me.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I have! I love Meetups and have tried several. Unfortunately, at least in my area, more people sign up and then don’t attend any. I’ve toyed with starting my own but I’d have to put something down to do that. In the meantime I just keep trying new ones.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. This is my favorite topic and I wrote a book about it. I write mysteries that take place in a ski resort. My books see in the ski resort, a general store, drug store, grocery store – and a Dollar store that likes to support local artists. All pay up front and take a smaller commission than bookstores. I highly recommend finding the sales avenues for selling printed books!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. These are all wonderful ideas. Thank you so much for sharing them. I’ll need to check out your book, too, Kristina. Alas, I don’t have any books to sell–yet! But alternative places to sell them are an excellent way to do business.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Another great article, Raimey! This was an “aha” moment for me during the Book Marketing Summit ( this winter. One of the speakers, I think it was Martin Wales, mentioned selling a Victorian romance novel in a gift store at a Victorian museum gift store or a shore-based novel at a shore boutique. The biggest challenge is pinpointing your audience well enough to know where to find these sales locations. Thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Awesome post. The farmer’s market idea is so unique! I know that the market at Union Square often has cookbook events with the chef who wrote it, but I guess I never thought about doing that with other books. Great tips! Thanks for this!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Raimey, I always love your posts on marketing strategies! Thank you for sharing 🙂 When I reach that stage in my career, I’ll definitely come back to this.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This is such a good idea, I hadn’t thought about selling anywhere other than book shops at all! My book is very inspired by my local area (Sherwood Forest) so would definitely fit in at events and maybe the visitor’s centre here… I’ll have to look into it! Thanks Raimey 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. This is a great idea. Although it’s hard to do for the genre I write (fantasy fiction), it’s still a good thing to remember. One way I kind-of implement this is to take advantage of opportunities where local authors are showcased.

    Liked by 1 person

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