Congratulations! You’ve published your book. The next challenge is finding places to sell it, and expanding your market to more readers. Getting your books sold online or through a traditional bookstore is great… but have you explored subscription book boxes?
Having your book featured in a subscription book box is a fantastic way to reach new readers, increase your brand awareness, and generate guaranteed sales.
Subscription book boxes are not new but they are a growth area in the bookselling industry. The business model works for three key reasons:
- Books are delivered directly to customers at regular intervals (who prefer this to frequent trips to a book store)
- Customers have the element of surprise (where typically they would search for and find the book they wanted)
- Customers receive items that complement their reading experience
When customers subscribe to a book box, they receive a package regularly (often monthly) that includes a new book and a selection of other items. These extras depend on the type of book box. Some will include book merchandise (sometimes signed) and artwork related to the book. Other book boxes are built around a theme: a romance fiction box, for example, might include objects for a pampering reading experience, such as candles and bath bombs. While some book boxes are generalized, many will focus on a specific genre, with Young Adult being the most popular.
Because book boxes are growing in popularity, new options are constantly coming onto the market. These firms will be particularly eager to develop relationships with authors, and these are the ones who you should approach first.
When contacting book box owners, be sure to provide them with some information about your book. Explain how it will appeal to their target audience (for example, it fits the genre they offer their customers). If you are able to provide extras, such as an exclusive bookplate or signed copies, let them know that, too. Book box subscription services will often market themselves as providing a unique connection to writers, which subscribers can’t get buying the same book elsewhere.
There are many advantages of selling your book through a book box subscription:
You can reach more readers
Because book boxes are curated by the owners, readers won’t know what book they are going to receive. Sometimes, the books are revealed prior to being sent. Other boxes keep it a complete mystery. Book buyers who might have passed over your book in a store will have it sent directly to them so your book will be read by more people.
Additionally, book box companies have been very active in embracing social media. Your book will doubtless be posted in beautifully styled photos alongside the other box inclusions on the company’s social media accounts, and subscribers often take their own photos for social media as well. Your book will reach a wider audience that you would otherwise be unable to target on your own.
It’s an opportunity to engage with a community
As the popularity of subscription book boxes grows, fans of the concept are increasing, too. A lot of book box subscription companies will have associated Facebook groups or hashtags, so subscribers can interact and chat about the book they received.
As the author, you can get involved, and grow your fan base even further. Including exclusive content is a great way to increase your readership as well. Readers feel more connected to authors when they have signed bookplates and similar material, and will again be more willing to provide free promotion through book photos on their own blogs and social media channels.
It’s a guaranteed sale
If a book box company chooses to include your book, they will purchase the amount they need from you, and there is no risk of having them returned (as with a sale to a traditional store). Companies will differ in how much they pay their featured authors but you can expect about 50% of the recommended retail price (RRP). If you’re doing extra work, such as signing the books, you could negotiate for a higher price.
The disadvantage of this type of sale it that it’s a one-time thing – the box will only include your book once, as subscribers can’t be receiving the same content twice. On the flip side, all your new fans will be engaged with you as a writer, and more likely to buy your next book, compared to if they’d randomly selected your book in a store or online.
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Emma Hall is an Australian-based freelance writer and editor. She is the previous owner of The New Romantics Book Box, a subscription box for romance fiction and self care items.
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