The school book market covers an amazing range of possibilities, including day care centers, K-12, adult education, community colleges, four-year institutions, universities, special education programs, homeschooling and vocational programs. They all have the potential to be large scale buyers.
However, to break into these markets takes some long-term thinking. Promotional material sent now may not result in orders for six months or a year downstream. The plus side is that sales once made are often repeated each new semester, and discounts can be a low as 20 percent or less.
Here are some ideas to consider if you are targeting the school book market.
- To help educators appreciate why your book would be appropriate, it's critical to emphasize any benefits that make it more likely for adoption. These might include chapters arranged a certain way to make it easier to teach, inclusion of exercises and quizzes, or review questions at the end of chapters.
- Even if your work is not suitable as a text, it may be useful as supplemental or related material for course planning. Supplemental texts also find a fertile field in continuing education courses.
- To get started, call the Board of Education at the nearest large city to find out who is in charge of curriculum for the subject area of your book. Often sending an examination copy can lead to an opportunity to supply a quantity of fliers that will be distributed to schools in the district.
- A specialized mailing list can be a perfect means of reaching your target audience. Many detailed lists can be purchased for one-time or multi-use purposes.
- The best time to mail to colleges is the beginning of summer for the fall semester and prior to October for the winter semester. Educators will expect to receive an examination copy on which they can base a decision. However, qualify your prospect before sending out an examination copy.
- Don't overlook the homeschool market. This industry is growing steadily, and every household needs books.
One additional thought. Mailing to educators is only one way of reaching them. Most areas of specialization have focused teacher associations. And these associations have journals and conferences. Offer your book for review, mention or exhibiting at their conferences - and track down information for attending and/or exhibiting.
The education market can indeed offer lucrative opportunities for book sales, but success will take diligence and perseverance.
[This post was created, with permission, from excerpts taken from The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, 5th edition, co-authored by Marilyn Ross and Sue Collier.]