A Lesson in Selling Books

I recently received an email from a member publisher of Christian Small Publishers Association. This gentleman is an independent publisher with a children’s book that released this year. He was writing to update me on the upcoming media appearances he would be making in connection with his book.Cover (LR)

His email ended with this:

Also have won a few book awards recently, but nothing is leading to any major sales figures.  This is a tough business, I am reminded once again.”

This publisher could not be more correct. Selling books is a tough business. Even with doing all the right marketing maneuvers to promote his new book, major sales are not appearing. This gentleman’s list of marketing activities is impressive.

He has:

  • written and published a professional-looking children’s picture book.
  • pursued and received endorsements and reviews.
  • secured national distribution for his book.
  • created a professional-looking website for the book.
  • displayed his newly published book at both BEA (Book Expo America) and ICRS (International Christian Retail Show) and handed out many free review copies at these shows.
  • created and posted on the Internet a promotional book video.
  • obtained coverage in local newspapers.
  • received coverage in some well-targeted Christian publications.
  • been featured on both Christian radio and television programs geared toward his target audiences.
  • pursued foreign rights for the book.
  • entered and won two book awards.

Yet, major sales are not happening.

Selling books is a tough business. It takes work and more work to sell books. Major sales are not necessary for success, although they are nice. Steady sales are good. Even in smaller numbers steady sales eventually add up.

I am reminded, again, that only a very small percent of books ever reach best-seller status. Don’t get discouraged, you never know what success your next marketing ploy may produce.


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