The National Park Service turns 100 on August 25, 2016. It seems appropriate to talk about how publishers can sell books through gift shops in parks and historic sites.
There are two major ways to sell to buyers at gift shops. One is to work through independent sales representatives found at http://www.greatrep.com. This site provides several entry points. Contact salespeople directly under “Lines Wanted,” or list your book in the “Reps Wanted” section. There is also a list of upcoming wholesale trade gift shows at which you can exhibit and/or network.
Second are third-party operators that buy for gift shops in parks and historical centers. They work in partnership with the retail outlets to ensure that their guests have a meaningful experience and can extend their experience by discovering relevant products in their stores.
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Everybody tells indie authors to participate in social media, but they usually fail to mention the dangers that lurk out there in Cyberia. Behind a keyboard, normal people can devolve into bullies, trolls, and raging vigilantes. Yes, even in highbrow literary neighborhoods. The weapons of choice are death threats, obscenities, and one-star "reviews."
A handful of authors have spammed and gamed the system with such abandon that some people are suspicious of us all. There's no way to protect yourself completely from meanies—I've had death threats simply because I witnessed the bullying of a naïve author who broke an unwritten Goodreads rule.However, ferreting out those rules can be daunting, so here are some I've learned by trial and error. Lots of error.
#1: Don't Spam
“Buyers are liars,” is a term some salespeople use to describe their customers. They believe prospective buyers distort the truth to put themselves in a better bargaining position. Regrettably, in some cases they are correct, so be on guard when negotiating the sale of your books to some corporate purchasers.
According to studies among business buyers (Harvard Business Review, July-August, 2016) about half of people involved in corporate negotiations lie when they have the opportunity to improve their potential outcome. Fortunately, there are things you can do to prepare for – or even prevent – this intangible trickery.
As authors we worry frequently about when the right time to pitch a book might be. While it's never a good idea to be brash, as an author it's very likely that your writing reflects your reality. Therefore, almost every situation you encounter will likely tie itself to you and your book. Thus, the general rule is: if the situation fits -- talk about it! Unless of course you're in one of the following circumstances:
1. At a funeral. It is our responsibility as citizens to be there for our neighbors first and foremost. Funerals are always emotional situations that need support, kindness, and displays of love more than they need book marketing. So, be there for your loved one in person and in spirit. Chances are, if you’re at a funeral, many of the people there will know of you and your book, and they’ll likely perceive you as a more tender and relatable person if you don’t try to upsell your book at that time.
When making a presentation to sell a large quantity of books, many publishers create PowerPoint slides with many colorful charts and graphs. But data itself does not convince people to buy. It’s the interpretation of data and its application to the needs of each buyer that make the sale. When preparing your presentation, first think about what you are presenting – ideas or data. Then consider your purpose: Do you want to inform, persuade or explore? The answers will suggest what tools and resources you need for each presentation. Here are Ten Tips for Preparing a Visual Sales Presentation .
1. Do not automatically convert a spreadsheet into a chart. That only visualizes data. It doesn’t communicate your idea.
2. During the preparation stage, design skills are less important than idea generation. Remember that form follows function.
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Jane Friedman and I have been observing the experiences of authors in the contemporary marketplace as it has developed over many years.
The impact of the digital dynamic, after all, hasn’t just rocked publishing. Like a good, stiff earthquake, it also has rearranged the landscape for writers—opening up new pathways to publication…and several pretty little trails that will lead your career right over a cliff.
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