BLOG: Eye-Popping Tips

From Karen Saunders

Your Branding, Marketing & Self-Publishing Coach

Creative Ways to Sell Your Self-Published Books

Book marketing guru Brian Jud spoke at the September CIPA (Colorado Independent Publishers Association) meeting about ways to sell books to other markets besides bookstores. He published the book Beyond the Bookstore back in 2009, and has a new updated edition, How to Make Real Money Selling Books. These books show you how to reach unique retail and non-retail market segments, where you can sell mass quantities of self-published books at a time.


Many independent publishers have realized the unfortunate impact of returns when working with bookstores. Returns are shipped back to the publisher at the publisher’s expense and often arrived damaged and unsellable. Brian advocates using a non-retail business model where there are no returns, and a publisher can sell cases of books direct to buyers.

Identify your Target Reader

First you must identify your target reader, your market segment and sub-segment. Ask yourself 1) who will buy your book, 2) why they will buy it, and 3) where will they buy it?

For example, if you have a book about training or caring for dogs you may consider selling your book to pet shops, dog trainers and training centers, dog wash locations, pet sitters, kennels, fancy dog resorts, dog food, products or toy manufacturers, dog organizations, associations and groups.

Develop Your Pitch

Next you need to construct a one-sentence pitch. Identify your target’s problem, explain your action and describe the result. For example your pitch would be constructed as follows: I help . . . . who wants. . . . then gets . . . .

Your pitch is to explain how you can help them sell more of their products by including a copy of you book with their products. For example, you may approach a company that sells dog food to include a coupon to get a free copy of your book when they buy a bag of their dog food. This company would buy thousands of copies of your book at a discounted price. Their customers would mail in coupons to get their copy of your book. They sell more dog food because new customers chose their brand over others because of a higher perceived value (getting a free book).

Several Creative Marketing Strategies for Self-Published Books

There are other creative ways to sell your. If your book is on recovering from or coping with a disease, disorder or syndrome you may approach doctors, nursing or treatment centers or spas that treat the problem. They may be interested in offering educational items (including your books) to their patients. They may resell your book in their office to their patients or perhaps buy your books to give them away as educational gifts.

If your novel is set in a tourist location or provides information about a particular destination, you can approach cruise lines that visit that destination and would like copies of your book in gift shops on their ships.

If your book is a motivational, training or leadership book, corporations may be interested in purchasing cases of your book for sales, management or marketing training. You may offer customization by adding their logo or brand on the front cover of the book, having the executive to write the foreword, or advertise their products on the back to brand the book as a special edition for their corporation.

Several Helpful Websites for Self-Published Authors

Brian gave us several helpful websites. To get a list of all associations go to   To get a list of national and international trade shows, go to   To get a list of hundreds of special designated days and months (i.e.: Cheese Pizza Day, Grandparent’s Day, Read a Book Day) go to

Choice books is a direct-to-store delivery distributor of family-oriented books. Go to   Reading Group Choices selects books for book clubs and reading groups. They also produce a catalog of books that is distributed to libraries, reading groups, bookstores, community book festivals, and book clubs. Go to

Brian urges all independent and self-publishers is to think outside of the box (get away from retail book stores) to sell more copies of their self-published books. You can visit Brian’s site here: