"Where are my potential customers?"
Can you answer this question? Before you reply too quickly, I'll tell you this. The answer is not "I'll reach them in bookstores."
Go into a bookstore on any given day. How many of the customers do you suppose are interested in, let's say, a book on scuba diving? Probably not many. What is the profile of the bookstore browser? The typical bookstore browser is a "recreational reader" - someone used to plunking down $24.95 for hardcover fiction. But check out a dive shop. How many customers there do you think might be interested in a book on scuba?
Dana Lynn Smith has written a great article entitled "How to Sell Books Beyond the Bookstore Market." It's something every nonfiction bookwriter should read.
If you are going to be successful nonfiction bookwriter, your book must have buyers and you must be able to locate them. Ask yourself these questions:
- Where will I find a high concentration of potential customers for my book?
- What type of stores do my potential customers frequent?
- What magazines do they read?
- What associations do they belong to?
- What annual events to do they attend?
You may want your book to be sold in bookstores, but the truth is, you will sell many more nonfiction books in places like specialty shops, and through associations, magazines and specialty catalogs. Think of bookstores as the frosting, not the cake.
So rule number one for all nonfiction writers should be, "Make sure there is an audience for your book, and you know where that audience is." Then, when your ready to launch you book, promote it where you know the highest concentration of potential customers are.
[This post was created from excerpts from Successful Nonfiction, written by Dan Poynter.]