February 11, 2016

Buicks, Book Sales and Your Bread and Butter

By Doyne Phillips, Managing Editor for Southern Writers Magazine    

When selling your books, what is your “Bread and Butter”?  In the world of sales your “Bread and Butter” could be a particular product or a particular practice that sells your product.

A particular product example may be General Motors worldwide sales of Buick over the sale of other automobile lines. In the case of a writer it may be the sale of one of their books over the other at any particular time. You must go with the popularity of the book at the moment which as you know can change as popularity, genre or focus groups change.

A particular practice for selling your book/books may be your book signing events. Steve Bradshaw author of the The Bell Trilogy, shared with me he sells more books at book signings or when he speaks to groups. His goal is to sell even more of the trilogy, Bluff City Butcher, The Skies Roared and Blood Lions, by continuing this method because it works.

Steve and I discussed the possibilities of other methods one could use as well without abandoning what is working, what is your “Bread and Butter”.  Never leave that but build on it. It is similar to baseball. You can win a game hitting singles but there is nothing like a home run or even better a grand slam. This is what can be referred to as a quantum leap, a move that moves you rapidly forward and puts you ahead in the game. The list of moves is endless but here are a few that have worked:

·         Media interviews – TV, Radio, etc. Being introduced by a reliable source as well as connecting a name with a face can be a valuable asset to you as a writer.
·         Newspaper - feature articles or as a guest columnist. Erma Bombeck developed a following as a columnist and propelled that into book sales with her book The Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank. Nice springboard I’d say.
·         Proper placement – getting your book into the hands of trend setters or people who can propel your book sales. Andy Andrew was able to get The Butterfly Effect into the hands of Robin Roberts of Good Morning America. Robin brought his book to light and sales took off. Jack Canfield was able to get his book Chicken Soup for the Soul into the hands of the sequestered jury of the O. J. Simpson Trial. The worldwide coverage included the jury members coming and going from their hotel to court with his book in their arms.  
·         Screenwriter – getting your books into the hands of a screenwriter or better yet you become the screenwriter or partner with one to get your book on film. A movie is one of the most effective ways to get your book out there in front of people. If you notice the movie promotions which note “from the book” and the name of your book follows. Your book being promoted along with the movie is a big plus. Also the money you received from the sale of your script, working with or better yet being recognized as a screenwriter and the experience and knowledge you have gained are priceless.

Yes there are other ways that can propel your sales. You should always be looking for them and open to opportunities because you never know what will take you to the next level. Continue to seek out that “out of the park hit” but it isn’t necessary to leave your bread and butter while you do so.      


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