As authors responsible for our own marketing, we must think beyond the “bookstore” when it comes to placing our books out in the world. Any author, traditional or self-published, can benefit from selling their books in gift and specialty shops…

–Sell gardening books to garden stores and nurseries.

–Cookbooks and food-centric books belong in gourmet food stores and cookware shops.

–Children’s books can be found in kids’ clothing stores and toy stores.

–Travel and adventure books are great for airports

–Health and weight loss books are perfect for hospital stores

–Books with dogs would be popular at pet stores and dog shows

–Stories like Sideways, Bottle Shock, and A Good Year can sell at wineries and wine shops

You get the picture.

We have a friend named Stacy O’Brien who wrote a best-selling book called “Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl.” Although it’s published by Simon and Schuster, it was Stacy’s creative marketing efforts that launched the book to best-seller-dom. What did she do? She started calling bird stores and pet stores to place her book in front of the right type of people. But the tipping point came when she contacted a bird watchers convention and said, “Instead of giving away keychains at the door, why not give away my book? They ordered thousands and gave a copy to every bird watcher at the convention. One simple phone call and it changed everything!

We have an author, Thomas Wasper, who wrote a brilliantly quirky, dark comedic, novelty type book with full color illustrations called “A Stitch in Crime: The Poetry of Murder.” He approached Urban Outfitters to place the book at checkout as an impulse buy.

So start thinking outside the box! Where does your book belong?

Written a mystery? What about contacting those who-done-it clubs and mystery dinner theater shows who get audiences involved in solving a crafted murder?

Westerns, sci-fi, fantasy, and romance all have conventions and online hangouts.

There’s a place for every type of reader. And there are readers for every type of book.

Remember, you are not just looking for readers, you are looking for super fans who will help tip your book! So start visiting the places where your readers hang out (online and out in the world). Join the conversations. Don’t talk about your book. Just talk about the genre. “Be interested and interesting!” as my grandmother used to say. Then when they ask what you do, say you are an author. That will get them asking what you have written and what the book’s about. Be brief! Give them your practiced “elevator speech” and then answer any questions they might have. Don’t ramble on about your book. If they show interest, offer to send them a free digital copy.

AND keep at it! Don’t just go once. Be a consistent contributor! Let them get to know you (and love you). YOU are the greatest asset you have when it comes to selling your books. When people know and like an author, the chances of them reading your book, and spreading the word about it, increase exponentially. 

Now go mingle!

Happy Holidays