Monday, November 11, 2019

A Real Online Strategy To Sell Books

Image result for waiting on line images

I was coming back from a writers conference in Nashville and standing on line at the airport to get a cup of five-dollar java from Starbucks.  They have three Starbucks in this airport – and all are slooooooow.  They always have long lines, no matter the day or time.  It occurred to me that lines would be the perfect place to sell a book – by giving it a way!

Ok, think about it. This is my “online” strategy.

To sell books, you need to give a certain number away. Why?  It creates buzz, goodwill, and opportunities.  Every giveaway is a loss leader.

If you can get copies of your book inexpensively, consider giving out hundreds of them to your targeted readership.  That’s right, give them to people you think could be customers.  Why?  Because chances are they know many others just like them. If they like your book, they’ll tell friends and family that some stranger gave them a book – and it’s very good!  Ask them to post a review on, Amazon, and elsewhere as a thank you for the book.

People are online all the time. A Starbucks is a good place to start, especially at an airport. They have some time on their hands, for sure. They would so love to meet an author.

Where else does your crowd hang out?  Are they online at the supermarket, bank, DMV, train?  Identify where to go – where there’s foot traffic and a convenient way to hand someone a book.

When you give out a book, ask first.  If they don’t want it, move on.  Include a business card or flier  about you, your website, and social media handles.  Ask them to post a review, share on social media, connect with you on social media, and to visit your site for other resources.  This will help you build a list and create sales ambassadors.

A physical book is better than a digital one even though it costs you more to distribute. A physical book has substance to it and perceived value. It feels like a gift. Most people still prefer print books over digital, anyway. Plus, being a physical item, others will see it being read or lying around one’s home.

You can give out books in many forums. You can donate a bunch to a school, church, nonprofit, etc., but going on line where people feel touched by your offer is a nice gesture.

So where should you hand out books?  Look at places that have your kind of readers – money, education, interest in your topic. So, not the check-cashing line or the line at McDonald’s. Think more the lines at certain department stores, people coming outside of an Apple store, or maybe those who are where books exist – bookstores, libraries, campuses.  Try public places – beaches, parks, arenas. Your reader could be in many places.

The free-book strategy especially benefits you if the book leads one to buy other items, books, or services from you. It’s also great for building your platform and branding.  It’s a nice gesture that can pay you back later.

So, the next time you are on line, hand out your book!

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

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