We hear a lot these days about more books actually being sold 'outside' the traditional bookstore. Think about it. When was the last time you actually took time to linger and explore the bookshelves? When did you last impulsively grab a book, flip it over, read the blurbs, and finger through a few chapters? Let's face it; most of us are too hurried.
So What's The Point?
If you don't take the time to browse, why expect your potential customer to do so?
Grab about five copies of your book, and head for the "Ma and Pa" stores in your hometown area. Pick a time when you know it won't be too busy. Talk to the owner or manager. Ask him if you may set up a small display on his counter. Offer him a percentage of each sale.
Go for the impulse buyers! Haven't you at one time, while waiting at a cash register, seen a small display of books on the counter? Before it was your turn to get checked out, you grabbed it, became excited, and added it to your other purchases? Maybe it was a novel set in your locale. People love reading tales taking place in their familiar surroundings.
They think, "Oh, I've driven that road! I know where it is!
Where's the next landmark? Have to find out!" They feel they become a "part" of it.
Is your book set in your region? Try your local gift shops, bed and breakfast inns, pharmacies, hair salon, even the little "quick stops." You get the picture.
Is the hero in your book of Italian descent? Is there a lot of ethnicity? Head for the specialty shops like that little corner deli. Pesto. Gnocchi. Fresh-baked focaccia. Get your book on that counter!
Maybe kayaking through turbulent river rapids is a large part of your novel. Or sky diving, race car driving, hang gliding, deep sea diving. Head on out to the sporting goods stores.
Whatever, go for it. Take control.
Grab your books and get a booth at the local festivals taking place in and around your area. Maybe share one with an author friend. In my area, there are different festivals every weekend throughout the summer and early fall. In the winter, many craft fairs. Think "thousands of potential customers!"
What Are You Waiting For?
I know you're thinking, "But I only want to write!" That may be so. Promoting is time consuming. But what's the alternative? Your book just sets there and gathers dust. So ease on out of that chair, and head on out. Let people know about your book. Talk it up. Readers who love your book will add another dimension to your promotion - word-of-mouth advertising!
Start Small and Think Big
Some stores you approach may not work! Granted. But you'll get the ball rolling and your mind spinning. "Where else can I sell my book?" You'll find yourself eyeing every little store as a possibility, while driving your car or strolling the sidewalks of your hometown. Who knows, you may even become your hometown's next "celebrity!" Give it a try!