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Book Marketing Advent Calendar – Day 2 – Find a reason to send Lumpy Mail

Advent Calendar2

If you’re selling books through a brick-and-mortar store, through Amazon, or any other online distribution channel, it probably works like this: you agree on a percent of royalties; you provide copies of your book; the store/website makes your products available; you make the occasional sale; and down the road somewhere, you receive a royalty check. It’s all very anonymous, and you never get to know who bought your book so that you can thank them or contact them or create any sort of a relationship with them.

This is a flaw in the current book-selling system. A book is a product, but most of them are not commodities like a pair of shoes or snow tires manufactured in a factory by a nameless person or a machine. A book has an author, an originator, a creator who put his/her thoughts down on paper to share with the end user, the reader. To that end, shouldn’t the idea creator be able to connect with the idea receiver?

When you sell from your own website (or a bookstore like the one for the Holiday Author Event), you have the opportunity to take things to the next level because you know who bought your book. Our Day 2 tip for the 2015 Book Marketing Advent Calendar takes this a step further:

Offer to give something away that requires the receiver to give you a physical mailing address.

I can hear the groaning from here. That means I’d have to mail them something! Are you crazy? Postage is through the roof!

Yep – postage costs more than sending an email through MailChimp (free for the first 12,000 messages each month). And guess what? The return is bigger. This is the chance to start a relationship that could lead to … a raving fan who will eagerly anticipate your next book and be more than willing to tell others about it, before it’s even published. Worth the $3-$5 in postage you spent? You do the math.

Keep these things in mind before you brush off this idea as crazy.

  1. You can limit your giveaway to the first however many takers your budget can accommodate.
  2. You can offset the cost – if it will really make that much of a difference to whether you do it or not – by asking your readers to pay a nominal shipping fee to receive the “gift.” Of course, asking for $3 makes it less gifty, so consider whether you really want to go this route.
  3. Not that many people are going to take you up on the offer anyway, because they’re busy, it’s extra effort, and it requires them to give up something personal and private.

Giveaway Ideas

Well, what’s your book about? Think of something that makes sense to keep the book top of mind once the person receives your gift. The sky is the limit here, but these come to mind off the top of my head:

My forthcoming novel is about a guy who travels around the world. I could give away globe pencil sharpeners. Just $8.99/dozen from Oriental Trading.

sharpener globe

Since it’s the holiday season, I could also give away SNOWglobe pencil sharpeners. These are on sale for just $7.98/dozen.

sharpener snow globe

  • Fitness author? How about a personalized pedometer. You can get them for a couple bucks each.
  • Cookbook author? Why not send a small sampler (literally a pinch of each) of your favorite spices? So use some common sense and don’t send saffron, right?
  • Book about Fido? Dog treats are always a welcome gift for pet owner readers.
  • Patriotic theme? There are probably a thousand places to buy flags in bulk online.
  • Fiction should be easy – find a doll or toy that represents your character or setting. Safari Ltd. has a “Knights and Dragons” bulk bag, with 42 pieces for about a buck apiece.

Need more help? My friend Helen Goldman is an expert in the promotional products business. She can help you find the perfect gift to match your theme and more than likely keep it within your budged. Contact her through her website, Primo Products.

Think about all the bills and boring stuff you get, when you still get mail. Wouldn’t it be fun to receive something extra, a bonus or gift from a writer you love? Well, one of the only ways you can do this in today’s marketing climate is by asking for the mailing address and giving away a bit of the surprise. The payoff can still be quite rewarding.

Read more on the value of “lumpy mail” in small business marketing from direct expert, Dan Kennedy.

One Day Blog Hop banner

As you may know, I am taking part in the Holiday Author Event for the next 9 days. PLEASE BE SURE to stop by the Holiday Author Event page today to read the blog posts from a some of our other authors. Great stuff – and you will be entered in today’s drawing for every comment/share/like you make on the posts!

Happy mailing and blog hopping to you!



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