Wednesday, December 3, 2014

IWSG: Ask PZM, December 2014

It's that the first Wednesday in the month again, which means Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thanks to our noble Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh, it's time to share our fears and insecurities, or support and assistance. Doesn't matter which. 



If you'd like to join, click here.

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Our hashtag is #IWSG

The awesome co-hosts for the December 3 posting of the IWSG are Heather Gardner, T. Drecker from Kidbits, Eva E. Solar at Lilicasplace, and Patsy Collins!

Before we get to Ask PZM, just a reminder that The Insecure Writer's Support Group Guide to Publishing and Beyond is now available for downloading. You can check out the sites here.


Ask PZM, December 2014

Q. Do you have any suggestions for bulk or sponsored book sales?

This book marketing area is a wonderful opportunity for authors although I can only share my own experiences and thoughts on this topic.

In May, 330 copies of my paperback HOW TO SUCCEED IN HIGH SCHOOL AND PREP FOR COLLEGE were ordered from CreateSpace.  I suspect that an elementary school ordered these books for its graduating 8th grade class as this is the ideal target audience for the book.

Then more recently 40 paperbacks copies of my novel MRS. LIEUTENANT were ordered from CreateSpace.  In this case I suspect a book club or high school class because I have book discussion questions and a high school lesson plan on www.MrsLieutenant.com


Now I have been pondering how to get more of these sales.

First question for all of us is: What are the likely groups that might be interested in buying our books in large quantities?

Here we need to think outside the box, as the saying goes.  And we need to think for both fiction and nonfiction after considering that there are two different target markets.

One potential market is the direct readers, such as book groups and schools.  The second potential market is sponsored books.

Direct readers

With the direct readers you could, for example, offer an author visit or skype call in connection to a group reading of your book.  Or if you have a children’s picture book, you might offer to do a classroom art activity around some aspect connected to the picture book. 

You can start locally by contacting high schools or community colleges in your area.  For many readers meeting an author is very exciting, so an author visit can definitely encourage group purchases.

Note that the purchases can be the ebooks instead of the physical books.  And in either case, the book discussion questions and high school lesson plan, for example, can be included in the books themselves.   (I have this material in the ebook of MRS. LIEUTENANT but not the paperback.  It would be relatively easy for me to add this same material to my paperback on CreateSpace.)

Sponsored books

In this scenario you locate companies who could benefit from the marketing goodwill of giving away your books for free to their customers or clients.  Again, these could be the physical books or the ebooks.

For example, if you have written a book about estate planning and included information on life insurance, you might approach an insurance company and ask if the company would be interested in buying copies of your book to give to their customers.  You can offer a wholesale rate that provides revenue to you and costs the company less than buying the books retail.

You could even do this if you have written a novel whose storyline concerns a major plot about insurance.  Even a cautionary tale about insurance could be of interest to an insurance company.

Note that you can license your ebook so that a company may give away as many copies as agreed upon for a set licensing fee.  This financial arrangement can be very beneficial for both parties.

And if you have more than one book, of course those books are listed at the end of the sponsored book.  In this case you’re being paid to have free advertising for your other books.

Branding opportunities

If you are a self-published author, you can also offer branding opportunities for your sponsored books.  You can, for example, add content to your book about the company sponsoring the book.  You can even add the company’s name to the cover, such as “The Ideal Insurance Company presents” [your book title].

While there might be cases in which two companies sponsoring the same book would not be a good idea (such as the only two department stores in a small town), in most cases you can offer branding opportunities to numerous companies.

Prior commitments

If your ebook is on Amazon’s KDP Select with its ebook exclusive requirement, you will need to end the KDP Select commitment before your ebook can be given away.  And although I am not a lawyer, I would say that this would be true even if you were adding sponsorship branding material to the ebook.  It’s still the same ebook, and you don’t want to get in hot water with Amazon.

The good news is that KDP Select does not require exclusivity of the physical books, so even if your ebook is on KDP Select, you can look for bulk deals for the paperback.

Finding companies interested in sponsorship opportunities

Here I don’t have any specific advice.  I personally am interested in finding high school teacher associations who might be interested in either HOW TO SUCCEED IN HIGH SCHOOL or MRS. LIEUTENANT.



(If you have any suggestions for me, you can leave these in the comments below.  Unfortunately I won’t be able to respond in the comments.  As Joylene and I have known for some time, her blogging software doesn’t allow me to leave comments.  Yet I do read all the comments each month and am very grateful for the positive responses.)

Put on your thinking cap and brainstorm the different kinds of companies who could benefit from a branded sponsorship opportunity with your nonfiction or fiction book.  Hopefully this brainstorming will produce several opportunities for you to pursue.


Phyllis Zimbler Miller is a digital marketer as well as a fiction and nonfiction author.  She blogs on book-related topics at her author site at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com and she is on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ZimblerMiller


69 comments :

  1. I'm book-marking this and coming back to read it later - so much great information!

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    1. Thanks, TD. I know Phyllis feels the same way.

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  2. As always, a lot of great information to consider. I've never sold a large quantity of books, but maybe someday... (it's a bit hard with fantasy, I believe.)

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    1. Thanks for your support, Carole. Phyllis and I truly appreciate it.

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  4. I once had accounts with Barnes and Noble and Borders Books and they would order a few hundred books from time to time. But those days are over at least at the moment. I'll have to reread this article a couple times as there's a lot of great info here.Thanks for sharing with us.

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  5. Those are some great ideas for nonfiction books. It must be cool to see those bulk sales.

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    1. It's what dreams are made of, Susan. Thanks for visiting.

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  6. Smart idea with the schools and businesses!

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  7. Such great ideas.
    Companies interested in sponsorship opportunities...very interesting concept.
    Thanks for sharing.

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  8. So inspiring. Always expanding the possibilities. Thanks.

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  9. Having lesson plans is a great idea. I only have those for one book. Lazy me! Great ideas, Joylene.

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    1. It's all Phyllis, Lee. She's my marketing encyclopedia.

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    2. Well then, yay for Phyllis! Job well done.

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  10. I've made some great sales through motivational training programs since they will buy several cases of books at a time. I also had a business buy a large order of books to give as Christmas gifts. It's easier to sell a lot to one than to sell one to a lot.

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  11. This is the first time I've ever heard of a single customer buying large quantities of books. I guess all the authors I know write genre or romance and not the type of things schools would buy. Since I write horror, my books are definitely not the ones groups would buy. Thanks very much for the info and the tips. :)

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    1. Lexa, check out Diane's comments above. You just have to know where to go to ask. Selling a lot to one buyer could serve as a great promotional benefit for the buyer.

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  12. What a great post! I think it is awesome that Phyllis's book was purchased in such a large quantity. I hope it continues! So cool! :)
    ~Jess

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    1. Jess, if Phyllis and I could figure out how she could leave a comment, she'd tell you, anything she's passing along wil work for you too. See Diane's comment above. Nothing is impossible.

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  13. Hi Joylene and Phyllis ... great ideas here - lots of food for thought. I like the idea of sales to groups for learning purposes .. and adapting the lesson plans, or discussion plans .. fun and clever .. cheers Hilary

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  14. These suggestions will be helpful when I publish in the future. Thanks!

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  15. It's funny--on my blog, I wrote about how hard it is to market your work and I was surprised how many people think traditionally-published people have it all done for us. At one time that may have been the case, but today we do a lot of the work, since the best promotion is through social media and author visits. If I hired a publicist, it would be to schedule the author visits because those make me a nervous wreck!

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    1. Good point, Stephanie. It's a lot for a writer to take on, trying to let the world know they've written a book. Thanks for your input.

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  16. Lots of great information. Thanks for sharing it.

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  17. That is very exciting that groups have found your books and are reading them. I especially like hearing that your books are used in schools. Congrats to you!!!
    Play off the Page

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  18. This post is full of great ideas and information. Thanks for sharing!

    P.S. I mentioned you in a poem on my blog. :D

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  19. I've never even thought about bulk sales before. Good food for thought. Thank you for the post.

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  20. Phyllis is a genius! lots to learn in this new age of marketing.

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    1. Here at CluculzWriter, we totally agree with you, Tammy. Thanks for visiting.

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  21. Congratulations, Phyllis, on having all of those books ordered from Createspace. I have a children's picture book published through the same company but most of my orders are placed by myself and then once I establish myself within a school, I directly sell them.
    This post is a great reminder for me to keep putting myself out there. With all of the promoting and social media, I sometimes forget about the most important part of this job... spending time with the children while hoping they will enjoy my book and visit.

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    1. Honestly, Gina, I love your blog, and I can't imagine children not having fun reading your books. Thanks for visiting.

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    2. Thank you so much, Joylene! Your blog is fantastic as well=)

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  22. Interesting post, thanks. I really need to do some marketing.

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    1. You and me both, Patsy. Thanks for visiting.

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  23. Interesting ideas! Thanks for sharing, Joylene and Phyllis.

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    1. Carol! Thank you for your continuing support. Means a lot.

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  24. Hey Joylene,

    As per usual, a whole bunch of insightful stuff from the legendary Phyllis. I wont pretend I have a clue what she's talking about. However, I do know her info is awesome for actual writers instead of smug amateurs like me.

    A hashtag for me? Wow, thanks, Joylene!

    Gary

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    1. Of course, a hashtag for you, Gary. You and Penny!

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  25. Thanks for sharing, Joylene and Phyllis, all these ideas and advice are great.

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  26. I think I must be losing my mind. I couldn't have sworn I commented on this post ... Hmm perhaps blogger ate it ...

    Anyway, much food for thought, Joylene and Phyllis. Thanks (again!) :)

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    1. !I think it was my last post, Wendy. You're always supporting this blog, no doubt about that. Thanks!

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  27. Good post. Great advice!
    Marketing is the pits.

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    1. That is so true. Thanks for following, Sandra!

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  28. Have downloaded the book, Joylene, and it is great to be back blogging. :0)

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    1. Excellent, Carole. Looking forward to your reactions.

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  29. I appreciate this advice and insight. Thanks so much, Phyllis. Thanks for hosting, Joylene! It's always nice to stop here to see you all. :) Have a great week!

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  30. Great tips. Lots to think about. Thanks Joylene and Phyllis.

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  31. Just stopped by to say hey and have a good evening.

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