Here are a few of the venues and markets Doug Bolton has used to sell his self-help book, Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World.
Note: These are based on notes I took during Doug's appearance on my 20-Minute Book Marketing Podcast series at http://askjohnkremer.com/20-minute-book-marketing-podcast-doug-bolton-on-finding-new-markets-for-your-books.
1. County Fairs - There are county fairs in the fall. You will need to pay a table fee, but you could go to every fair a county may have plus the state fair. I sold 26 books at my state fair last year.
2. Holiday Bazaars - At holiday time you could have a table at the many bazaars that are held. Again there will be a table fee, but you should sell many more books than needed to cover that cost. You can do the same with summer craft fairs.
3. Beauty Salons - The beauty salon is probably the most unusual. My wife has been going to the same hair dresser for many years. I lost my main barber, so I started going to her hair dresser to get a hair cut. I liked her work so I kept going. We became very good friends. When my book came out I told her about it. She bought one, and loved it. I then approached her about trying to sell it in her shop. We both thought it was stretching it a little. She decided to do it. I sold 23 books in one month there, because she loved the book. She told every costumer about it as she did their hair. A built-in sales lady with a trapped costumer!
4. Wineries - Many wineries have small gift shops in their wine tasting areas. I went to a local winery where I knew the owner. He was happy to let me place my book in his shop. I sold 7 books out of there (I still have books there). He also let me set-up a table during his Mother's Day brunch. I sold 7 more copies at that event. Then we put together a signing there, and I sold 13 more books there. A total of 27 books at one winery. Of course you have to be where there are wineries, but don't pass them up if you have them near. They are great outlets.
5. Private Mail Depots - They are places you can take your mail and boxes to be shipped. I have one only a mile away, and I used it for years to do my shipping. When my book came out, I approached them about selling it in their gift shop area. They agreed and I sold out of the first order in one month. I am now working on putting in a separate stand with books in it.
6. Bookstore Chains - Contact the nearest Barnes & Noble store. They love to feature local authors. I sold 100 books at my local Borders before they closed down.
7. Local Independent Bookstores - There is a small chain here in Oregon and up in Washington called Rainbow West. I was able to get 16 copies of my books spread out to all of 6 stores. There is another single independent bookstore in town, and I sold books there as well.
8. Reviews - Another avenue that some authors pass up are reviews. You don't have to pay to have a review. When you get a great review, the person that did it tells others about it. I got three book orders from Indiana just because a local reviewer in a small town did a great review, and the people that knew her bought the book. I also display copies of my reviews at signings.
9. Gift Shops - I am blessed to live near the Oregon coast, a haven for gift shops of all kinds. There is one town called Cannon Beach that has twenty gift shops in it. You can spend a day at one of these towns and do very well. Don't expect big orders. Gift shops will only want a couple of your books, but give them your card and mark on it how they can order more.
10. Drugstores - Independent pharmacies are a good outlet as well. They all have gift shops.
11. Doctor's Offices - I have sold books in chiropractor offices, dentist offices, my primary doctor's office. You won't be able to place them in a clinic that has several doctors, but if you have a private doctor, and he/she is open to letting you place a free book in his/her waiting room, you could do very well. I sold 5 at my own dentist office recently. They have three of my books at all times, and one free one in the waiting room. I get a call every once and while that they need more copies.
12. Churches - Talk to your own church about doing a talk and then sell your book afterwards. You should offer to give a percentage to the church. Then if this works, call all the churches in your area to see if you can do the same at their church.
13. Organizations - If you belong to any organization, see if they will let you have a table at any of their meetings. I sold books at a state meeting of retired teachers.
14. Consignment Shops - Consignment shops usually will put your books on sale. If you have a local Women's Assistance League in you town, talk to them about placing your books in their gift shop. I did that in my home town and sold 16 books there. You will have to expect a 40% share for them if you do a consignment.
15. Colleges - OSU bookstore has a section featuring books from authors who have graduated there. I just came up with another unusual way to sell books.
16. Coffee Clatches - You remember those when political people would had them in homes? Mine would be done during the summer and be outdoor events. You just need to find the right people to hold them on their property. It would need to have an area tat is big enough to hold up to a 100 people. Refreshments and snacks should be provided.
I am still looking for other new ways to sell. Anyone reading this guest post, please leave comments about any special markets you have found to sell your books. Thanks!
About the Author
Doug Bolton is the author of Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World. Check out his book at http://www.dougbolton.com.
You can read his blog at http://www.dailysignsofhope.com. His blog has over 11,000 followers and continues to grow by 40 or more followers every day. The secret to these numbers? As Doug notes, "The secret is posting everyday, and having great content."
Here are two more book marketing venues provided by reader Roy Murry, author of The Audubon Caper: The Untold Story of the Theft of an American Treasure true crime book:
17. I work in a golf pro shop. The pro, my boss, lets me put books out while I work. His wife loved the book. The winter golf community bought 160+ books. Each day I work someone buys a book or gets a free first chapter copy.
18. The other venue is a bar. I have been going to the same bar for a number of years. They were so proud of me they had a book signing for me. I sold 48 copies.
This all happened because I gave out the first chapter of The Audubon Caper free (cost 10 cents a copy). That free chapter sells the book. Being in the right place also helped. My book was released March 22, 2012.
John's Comments: Over 200 copies sold from just two venues in less than a month. Now that is a book on the way to becoming a local bestseller for sure.
Check out Real Fast Book Marketing for more tips on how to sell hundreds of books in two weeks or less.
Please share your favorite venues for selling your books. Share in the comments below. Thanks!