Daddy's Christmas Angel

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Where Are You Selling Your Books in the Changing Market?

With all the changes taking place with the speed of light in the book-selling business, I wonder what kinds of books are selling best and where? Is there a place now for books from small publishers in the brick and mortar stores?

When my first novel, Hearts Across Forever, was released in 2001, I lined up book signings at Barnes and Noble, Borders, Books-A-Million, and Waldenbooks. I had signings at major locations in Richmond, Williamsburg, Fredericksburg, Newport News, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Hilton Head, SC, Savannah, GA, Jacksonville, FL and more. These stores made beautiful signs advertising my signings and welcomed me with royal treatments that sometimes even included lunch.

Now, the Waldenbooks where I signed are closed. The Barnes and Nobles no longer welcome authors with small publishing houses. And many of the independent bookstores in my area have gone out of business or are just limping along.

Some of the authors I know are selling at outdoor festivals. Where are you selling your books? Is your best market online? Are you selling e-books?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've a couple book festivals scheduled, but I'm really trying to avoid physical appearances. Seems like everyone buys online now.

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Alex, hope that's true. Physical appearances can be traumatic for the introvert which I often find I am!!!

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I like book and craft fairs, book stores not so much though I do have one small independent that I like to go too. And I've done two book launches and am going to do another this month in a used book store.

Of course you know that I do lots of promotion on line.


WS Gager said...

I'm following Marilyn's trend at arts and crafts shows. I did one in September that was going great and was worried I would sell out of my newest book, A Case of Accidental Intersection, until it down poured and the people left. I've two more scheduled for November and made postcards to hand out with a holiday theme saying my books would make an excellent Christmas gifts. Hopefully I will sell a lot of books. The people at them are really friendly and I enjoy talking to them. A few have facebooked me and said they loved them.
I'm more introverted online and am trying to break that habit.
W.S. Gager

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Thanks for the comments, Marilyn, and Wendy! I think I got burned out with outdoor shows when I used to show art in them. Spent a lot of time under plastic during sudden thunderstorms!

Holli Castillo said...

I do a lot of online marketing, but I also sell from my own website, where I refer people who ask about my book.

I sold last year at a Christmas boutique at my daughters' school, and teachers and parents will come up and ask to buy a signed book.

Now that our bar is open and we are finally getting video poker in a week so we'll have a larger clientele, I am going to put a few copies on the bar so when people are good and drunk I could sucker them into buying a copy.

I also find that my old friends and acquaintances on Facebook will email and ask for a copy, and I'll sell direct to them instead of going through paypal.

My husband also pushes my book on people, and when he was an extra in the Green Lantern movie shooting down here in New Orleans, he gave a copy to the director on the last day of shooting. Even though it was a freebie, you never know when something like that might pan out.

Holli Castillo

Anonymous said...

Last year I has a lot of book signings and events to attend. However, this past year many of the Borders Books have shut down, the B&N stores are much more reluctant to have book signingins, and book events have increased five fold in cost to attend. One such event that cost authors $50 last year now wants $250.

I'll stick with viral marketing for a while thank you very much.

Stephen Tremp

Enid Wilson said...

Half of my book sales is from ebook. As I'm so far away from USA, I do blog book tour and virtual contests.

My Darcy Mutates

Mike Orenduff said...

I'm still selling in the bookstores I've cultivated the last two summers on signing tours. A few of them have gone out of business, but I found one that just opened this summer and they've already sold twenty of my books. My favorite new location, however, is the tasting room in the Gruet Winery in Albuquerque. It's the only place I have no competition because the Pot Thief books are the only ones they sell!

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Looks like the Oak Tree authors are pretty savvy with their book sales promo and placement! Yeah!

Stephen, you've found a similar situation to mine. Enid, the e-books seem to be a different ballgame!
I'm learning about the internet sales and promo and hope to do much more with it.

KK Brees said...

Cultivating indie bookstores and meeting some wonderful folks along the way.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I've been doing appearances almost as long as you - 2004 - and it's sad that in about eight years it went from 700 Waldenbooks to 130. And the last two B Daltons will close soon. Barnes & Nobles in NC have never been open to single author events, although I've done many outside of my state. Borders is just too terrified to do them now.
Bookstore patrons just don't buy books anymore, so I rarely make store appearances. Book festivals are more fun. And profitable. Otherwise, it's all online.
Oh, and if you've never visited Quartermoon Books on Topsail Island in NC - it's the coolest independent store in the state! And the one store I still love to visit.

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

I've never been to Topsail, Diane. Would love to see that bookstore that draws you back. I need to concentrate more on the indies,KK. One started up in Petersburg, VA but went out of business before I could contact it!

Daisy Hickman said...

Hi! Not marketing a book right now, but I have been quietly watching the trends. Not sure what to think about them so far, but clearly, the book environment is changing. Marketing is up to authors more than ever it seems, so sometimes I ask myself if I'm willing to play that game. Self-promotion can be painful, time consuming, and spiritually draining. I'll always be writing ... that's really all I'm sure of today! -- Daisy @ SunnyRoomStudio

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Daisy, I know exactly what you mean by spiritually draining. More than ever it appears that marketing is up to the author, and that can be painful if you really want to write!!!

Patricia Stoltey said...

My personal preference is large author events at libraries or other local venues. My best sales ever were at a two-day holiday craft fair right after Thanksgiving at a Senior Center. I think solo book signings are a waste of my time.

The big challenge these days is creating an online buzz...I'm seeing some interesting new ways to do that.

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Thanks for your comment, Pat. Interesting that you think solo signings are a waste of time. Except for publicity associated with them, I agree with you!