Selling Books 24/7

Monday, April 11, 2016
Writers often go about selling their books as if it’s something finite. But selling books is more than just an event, a couple hours at a bookstore. It’s downright infinite.

Honestly, writers are selling ALL the time. They may not be selling a book all the time but they sure as heck are selling themselves (in a completely legal and above board way).

Take me as a buyer, for example. I think I’m pretty typical. Most of the books I buy, I buy because I know and like the author. I read a ton of books for any number of reasons: I like the genre or a protagonist or the humor. But those books, I’ll check out from the library. Buying a book requires an investment. So somehow or other, that author has sold me.

I thought about book sales at a conference I attended a couple weeks ago. I, along with ten other authors, launched books. Meaning we were given three minutes to speak about our recently released books in hopes that the conference attendees would buy those recently released books. In other words, we had three minutes to sell.

But my books are work-for-hire in the education market and are only sold in Korea. Many writers in this category don’t bother to launch their books. After all, it’s not like they need to sell these books; books in the education market pretty much sell on their own.

But it wasn’t those books I was selling when I did my shtick. And I mean shtick because I brought Cathy-on-a-Stick along to interview me and have a little fun.

Before I ever stepped on that stage, I was thinking about the day when I’d have books in the trade market. I was thinking that when people hear the name Cathy C. Hall, I want them to think of humor because, well, I hope I write funny books. I was thinking of how I could sell myself as a funny writer. So I launched my Korean books with Cathy-on-a-Stick, even though no one could buy ‘em.

But when I wasn’t on that stage, I was selling, too. Talking to two or three people at lunch, or speaking to a hundred people at the conference, I was selling. The same as if I were standing at a podium, launching books.

It sounds a little commercial, or maybe even calculated, and of course, in sales, there’s always a bottom line. But it’s more than dollars and sense. It’s understanding the business of being a writer.
Whether we’re blogging or leaving a comment on someone’s blog; having dinner with friends or sitting at a banquet table where we know no one; signing books at a huge festival or for a handful of kids in a preschool, we’re selling.

It’s impossible to measure what your reach might be. The potential is infinite which is kinda scary. But it’s downright exciting, too!

~Cathy C. Hall


Sioux Roslawski said...

Cathy--We are prostitutes for paperback (and hardback) sales. We have to be. We have to constantly schmooze. We have to have our A-game goin' on all the time.

And yes. When we think Cathy Hall, we think funny...

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

As usual, you are spot on. The selling, one way or another, never ends. Networking is essential, and only one facet of "getting the word out there." You know that I've come kicking and screaming into the selling end of this career. The idea of selling makes me cringe. But people can't buy our books if they don't know about them, right? And as you, Master Yoda, taught me many moons ago, there is selling, and then there is selling. We can sell without hawking on the street corners. We can sell by doing the thing we love---writing---every week on a blog, by engaging with other blogs. And as sales jobs go, hanging out with other readers and writers is a pretty nice gig. :)

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