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Article 222

How to Distribute Your Self-Published Book
Judy Cullins c. 2006

Where is your book now? With a distributor? In a book store? In a storage place? Or, did it die an early death after a few months?

New self-published authors often believe they need a distributor to sell a lot of books. They want to use Ingram or Baker & Taylor because they think they need to get their book into the "brick and mortar" bookstores like Barnes and Noble.

Authors go through many hoops and snags to accomplish this-- what I call the "traditional publishing nightmare" of inefficiency and lack of support for authors. Usually the author only gets around 15% royalties. So many hoops, some give up. So many authors I speak with who have gone this route still have hundreds of unsold copies littering up storage space. Talk about discouragement.

Distributors Can be Dangerous to Your Book's Health and Your Wallet.

One author wrote, illustrated, and marketed six beautiful children's books. Her books were well received and reviewed. For some time, the profits rolled in until her distributor went bankrupt, owing her $160,000. After she stopped crying, she decided to take her books on the road —to local fairs and talks where she could keep all the profits.

Distributors take quite a chunk of money from the author's profits too. They charge the author for storage, and when books are returned, the author loses those sales, and has to pay the distributor too. Authors lose from the bookstores because they pay late or are unreliable. Some authors wait way beyond 90 days. In fact, many just don't get paid. Authors are not always good at collections either. These middlemen not only take a big chunk of the author's profits, they cause much stress too.

How Can Self-Published Authors Distribute?

Self-published books include: print books such as perfect bound, comb bound, print on demand, or stapled. They also include eBooks in Word or Portable Document Format (PDF) that are sent electronically and arrive at the buyer's email address.

Local Distribution.

For each venue, make sure to include ordering information such as your Web site URL, your company address, your toll-free 800 number, your local phone number, and an order page to fill out for fax or phone orders.

1.Distribute through the Press.

-Create a "Power Press Release" (include tips and how-to's)
-Get a Feature Story from the Media
-Write a how-to article and submit

2. Distribute through a local Radio and TV Talk Show as a guest speaker. Guest speak for another person's teleclasses.

With just a phone call away you can reach 1000s of people interested in your book's topic. Check out www.freeconference.com. As a teleclass guest speaker with other experts every two months, many new clients come, and new book and teleclass sales increase to make up over half my income.

On the talk shows or the teleclasses, offer the audience a free report to capture their email addresses. You can also send it through your host and she will distribute that information to her large email list. Of course you include your sales-pulling signature file at the end of every email you send.

3. Distribute at local talks to groups. Sell your print books at the back of the room. Take a clipboard and capture everyone's email at the talk. These people become your dedicated sales force and tell others. Word of mouth takes up to one or two years, so be patient for results. Check your library for clubs and organizations who need free speakers.

Develop a two-sided flyer with testimonials, your book cover, excerpts, and an ordering coupon. Take books and flyers with you everywhere. Offer to all you meet, even your dentist!

If you are discouraged because traditional methods of book or product distribution haven't brought you the profits you wanted, think internet distribution. This online promotion method is good for the long haul and costs you little time or money. With online distribution self-published authors or their web site businesses get to keep all the money.

Whether you have a Print on Demand (POD) book, traditionally printed book, or an eBook, you can become your own distributor these online ways:

1. Distribute through two-step email promotion campaigns.

You don't need a web site to sell books. Benefit from this easy promotion you can do from your home office.

First Step: Send a freebie to your different email lists. Think of your email groups--customers, clients, ezine subscribers, ePublishers, teleclass groups, and networkers. Offer to give them a free answer to one question. Offer a free "Special Report," or an excerpt from your book. These give your online relationship a good start, because increased sales come from trust developed during relationship marketing more than anything else.

Second Step: Follow up with your book sales letter. Each sales message includes: headline to capture attention, background of problem, where the potential buyer wants to be, benefits and features of how to get there. Add testimonials and be sure they are credible and sincere with specific benefits mentioned.

Be sure to ask for the sale and include several easy ways to buy: toll free number, fax or mail by an order form placed at the end of the sales letter, or if you have a web site, a link to where they can download your book with a secure provider.

2. Distribute through your own ezine.

Write your own ezine if you want to attract more credibility, trust, and sales. Because your potential clients and customers expect a lot of free information, include useful content such as a feature article, editor's note, resources and tips. You'll get to be well known as the "expert" in your field. In each ezine, add your sales messages for your products or service. Keep your ezine regular-once every two weeks or once a month to start. Keep it short--a real challenge to many of us.

3. Distribute by submitting how-to free articles to top opt-in ezines and web article directories.

Online readers love free information. They subscribe to ezines you can submit your well-written article to. After learning acceptable article formats from a book coach, start subscribing and submitting them. Collect 5-10 edited articles before you send. After you subscribe you can start sending your articles to each ezine who has a thousand or more subscribers. These potential buyers will see your article with your sales-powered signature file on it every time you submit it.

A more advanced article marketing technique is to submit your articles directly to targeted web sites that want your content. Ask your coach for more information on this # one way to promote your book.

Be sure your product is up on a web site. Many web publishers will take your e or print book, sell it, and distribute it for you for a commission of 60% or so. This is great for people who do not have their own site. However, getting your own site is the best way to sell a lot of books.

4. Distribute through your signature file on every email you send.

Be sure to include at the bottom of each email or article submitted your signature file. Include your name and title, your top benefit, a free offer, a link to where your book is sold, your email and web address, and your local phone number. Aim for seven lines or less. Everyone on the net accepts this subtle promotion form. If you do not include it, you are passing up an easy way to draw attention to your book.

5. Distribute through your own web site.

Create your web site with marketing pizzazz. Don't just be creative and put up colorful graphics. Put up an order pulling sales message on your home page that convinces your visitor to buy. If you sell more than one thing on your site create a powerful benefit driven headlines on your home page to lead your audience to your sales message and order form. Be sure your sales letter gives enough information for your potential customer to decide to buy. Ask a book or web coach to guide you.

6. Distribute through someone else's web site.

Other ePublishers want your books--both print and eBooks. They want you to write a 100 word or less blurb (including benefits and testimonials). They will sell, distribute, and keep track of your sales, sending you a check every few weeks or so. Most give you royalties of 30-50% depending on whether it is a print or eBook. For more information on where these sites are contact a book coach.

7. Get an ISBN number.

When you put an ISBN number on your book, you are listed in "Books-in-Print." Libraries, bookstores and Amazon.com ISBN require it. You pay $225 for 10 or $800 for 100 today. Check this price as it goes up each year. For the money and amount of work this is, you may do better by putting your money and time into other online venues, because you don't need an ISBN number when you sell from your own web site.

8. Distribute through a sales letter straight from your email.

Every time I want to promote my teleclasses, I send a sales letter. The letter follows the free report I already sent a week ahead to the same egroup. You may already have your ezine subscribers in a list. Collect all kinds of lists of emails to include satisfied customers, teleclass participants, ePublishers, or fellow networkers.

Send sales letters that promote your books, your classes, or your service. Keep in touch with your target audience, and watch your sales go up--way up. Then, count your profits. Remember, internet authors get to keep all the money!

So discouraged after several years of research and submitting to traditional publishing and distribution venues, I decided to become an author's advocate. Turning to the internet five years ago, I found that with a little delegation, a little study with a knowledgeable coach, a little attention, and a little money, my great-selling eleven eBooks earn enough for me to take two months vacation each year.

I encourage you to try this kind, gentle, and easy way to get your print or eBook into your audience's hand.



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Book and Internet Marketing Coach, Judy Cullins, can help you build credibility and clients, sell a lot of books, and make maximum profits. Author of 11 books including Write your eBook or Other Short Book Fast and The Fast and Cheap Way to Explode Targeted Web Traffic" Get her free eBook"20 High Octane Book Writing and Marketing Tips" and two free monthly ezines at http://www.bookcoaching.com

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