If you plan to publish any type of book, you must have a plan to promote it. If it’s not in the public’s eye, sales won’t escalate. Books sitting in a box on a shelf don’t sell themselves. It’s like winking at someone in the dark – no one can see it.
A cookbook I published four years ago had sold out so I decided to update it with thirty new recipes added. I’d promoted it previously through my cooking column in a farm newspaper, through the local library and at local tea houses and gift stores.
Needing a new market I sat down to make a plan.
First, I made a list of new places to approach to sell the cookbook.
Second, a list of people who might give me some promotion if I mailed them a free copy of the cookbook. The list included four newspaper and magazine food columnists, a television noon show host, editor of a food newsletter and a radio host.
This paid off big time. All four columnists wrote articles on my cookbook plus the editor of the food newsletter. So far I have not received a response from the television noon show host or the radio personality.
In less than five months and fifty people’s orders for books sitting on my desk I had to make the decision whether to do another printing or not. I couldn’t talk myself into returning the money and saying sorry I’m sold out. When I decided to reprint, the decision was made to donate two dollars from each book to a new Cancer Care Centre in a nearby city in memory of my sister-in-law.
Every type of book needs different type of market. Instead of taking my cookbook to elite craft sales myself, arrangements were made with associates already going with their product to sell my book for a percentage of sales. This encourages them to promote my book along with their products. When time permits I make an appearance at the sale.
When I mail out a cookbook, I include a personal letter telling them about the second cookbook I compiled. This has bought in numerous orders. While covering a livestock show, I learned of a new Canadian magazine geared to country women. After interviewing the editor for a newspaper hoping to build up a working relationship, I ask the editor if she wanted me to include a brochure on her new magazine with the cookbook when I mail them out. An immediate response asked me if I wanted a brochure on my cookbook included with each subscription she mailed out. Networking with other writers can be very profitable.
Joan Airey is a freelance writer and photographer for Agri-Post and Farm Business Communication newspapers and has been published in Horse Country, The Cottager, Writers Weekly and Writing for Dollars. Author of “Good Friends Sharing Good Food”.