How to INCREASE Your Book’s SALES

Group of business people and men handshake reflected onto table with documents.

Authors: Here’s How To Make A Deal!  By Brian Feinblum

(My friend Brian is the Chief Marketing Officer, and SVP at Media Connect, formerly Planned Television Arts, arguably the nation’s largest and oldest book promoter. He is one of the consultants and advisers who works with Lincoln Square Books’ clients. — Peter Rubie)

When I first started marketing the PR services of the firm that I work for, Media Connect (called PTA back then), one of my first clients helped me land another client through triangular trade. It’s something I highly recommend for authors.

So here’s what I did: I was looking to work with Entrepreneur Press, which at the time published Entrepreneur magazine and had a book line as well. The publisher proposed hiring us to do some work that we’d normally charge $15,000 to $20,000 for, promoting several books on big radio tours. However, rather than pay us cash, they offered to provide us with several full and half-pages of ads in their magazine that normally would sell for double our fee. I had never done anything like this before. What will I do with these ads?

Before I declined, I queried some of my business author clients and it turned out one of them wanted to market his book, about living The American Dream, to entrepreneurs – the very targeted readership of this magazine. He ended up paying us more than what Entrepreneur Press would have given us, but less than what their magazine would have charged him. Everyone won. That three-way deal is known as a triangular trade.

Getting a third party to help you close a deal can be quite helpful – and fun. Bartering often gets you more value than using cash. Why? Because people value things differently but when people hear a dollar amount, they all want to get a discount or feel the number’s too high. But if I say to my neighbor I’ll trade you my three-year-old lawnmower for your five-year-old snow blower it sounds like a fair trade. Who knows what each of us actually paid for those items? The price back then is different than today’s and who knows if there was a special sale going on.

So how would this work in your world?

First, think about what you want or need. Have an idea on what it costs. Second, think about what you can trade – a service, your time, a thing, a favor – and grasp what it could be worth to others. Third, find people to trade with. If you can’t find a good trading partner, invite a third party in. If you can give person A something to trade, he can give you something that you now can trade with person B. And what you get from person A can now be enjoyed by yourself.

Authors typically want or need the following:
· A way to sell books
· Testimonials
· Positive Reviews
· Media Coverage
· Advertising
· Speaking Engagements

So how can you trade for these things?

Let’s talk about advertising. Let’s say you want to advertise on a particular site and it costs $350. Rather than pay it upfront and risk losing money if few or no sales come in, you suggest a partnership, where the site gets a % of all sales that come in. Potentially, the site can earn more than $350 – or it can earn little to nothing. It’s all about trading profits and risk.

Now, let’s say that offer is declined. Your follow-up proposal could be to split the cost. Pay $175 up front and for sales earned beyond that cost to you, profits are split based on agreed percentages.

Ok, let’s say they don’t agree to that either. Here’s another option – pay them in books. Your book, with the cover price of say $14.95, costs you $3 to produce. So you net $12 per book. To get to $350, you’d need to sell about 30 copies – and earn a $10 profit – although due to shipping costs, you may have to sell more like 45 copies to break even. So you tell the website you’ll give them 25 free copies (costs you $75 +shipping) and tell them they can resell them and keep the profits. They let you advertise at no additional cost. What do they do with the books? They may have a way of selling them to people they know and are connected with. They may trade them with someone else for something they value. Or they could give them as a premium to people who sign on to their subscription site or who sign up for other products or services sold.

So you see, there are ways to cut costs or reduce risks or combine offers.

In fact, in the scenario above, you could have traded your books with those of another author, if you feel you had a place to unload them on – or a means to sell them.

Another example of a triangle trade is to work with people who have sister companies or a network of connections. The more people they know, the more likely you can find a deal in a three-way trade.

Now that the wheels are spinning in your brain, go out there and make a deal!
Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

Writer on Writers 3 (Webinar): Jennifer Urezzio, Author of Soul Language

May 24, 2016, Jennifer Urezzio, author of Soul Language and A Little Book of Prayers was Stephanie Gunning’s guest for Writer on Writer 3, a monthly series of irreverent conversations with the writers who interest her to delve into the mysteries of the creative process. The program is intended as an open exchange of ideas.

The following recording is roughly 50 minutes in length.

Important New Facts All Indie Writers Should Know About Tech Power in Publishing


Smart indie writers and publishers can learn a lot from studying how the mainstream is engaging and tackling the issues of modern publishing. While indie publishing does not have the heft of the mainstream, it is much more focused on the needs of the author, and much more agile in adapting to the marketplace. Here’s a report on how trends in publishing continue to shape and influence the book world for everyone, regardless of being mainstream or indie. The 2016 Digital Book World conference was held in March in New York City.  Peter Rubie


From The Bookseller.   (Published March 9, 2016) by Gayle Feldman

What a difference the passage of six years makes, Mike Shatzkin reminded us, introducing the Digital Book World conference in New York yesterday (Tuesday 8th March).

Since the first DBW in 2010, there has been the opening of the iBookstore; half of all physical shelf space has been lost; the Department of Justice has changed the playing field; self-published authors have blossomed, putting downward pressure on price; indie stores have seen a resurgence; Amazon has got into bricks-and-mortar, another front in their war for dominance. And that’s just a few among many developments.

Shatzkin said he saw publishers’ “greatest challenge” now as creating platforms to communicate with readers, and their “biggest failure” as not giving authors help to build a digital presence. The tech sector is gobbling the revenue pie, forcing content creators to eat a lot less.

The most talked about presentation of the day came early, from Jonathan Taplin: former road manager for Bob Dylan, producer for Martin Scorsese, and currently director of the Annenberg Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California. The theme, “Sleeping Through a Revolution,” is also the title of his book coming from Little, Brown in 2017.

Taplin is worried that “platform, and not content, is king.” That’s not what the Internet’s countercultural founders wanted at all; they were into moral purpose and decentralizing control. It’s time we put moral and spiritual purpose into the framework, he argued.

He traced where things went wrong back to Peter Thiel – a Stanford libertarian follower of Ayn Rand – who founded PayPal, and set an example for others with his “who’s going to stop me” philosophy. Thiel and his followers wanted no government regulation; no taxes (e.g. the no-sales-tax “gift” to Jeff Bezos); no copyright; and no competition.

That has brought untold pain for musicians, journalists, many creatives working in film and TV, and moved money that would have gone to them over to Google, Amazon, and Facebook. Marry Thiel’s libertarianism with the late Justice Robert Bork’s idea that “the only thing that matters is price” – a concept that all too successfully infiltrated the Department of Justice – and you understand how Google has been allowed to accrue 90% of search share; Facebook, 75% in mobile social; and Amazon, to become a dominant monopsony in books.

Sounding like Senator Bernie Sanders, Taplin asked: “Is this tech revolution great for everybody or just a few at the top of the Forbes 400? Since 1980, wages have become separated from productivity. The world is getting less free. Google sells ads next to ISIS videos on YouTube. Huxley was right: we’re living in Brave New World today, and in a Colosseum culture, where Donald Trump has 6,000,000 Twitter followers.”

How, he asked, do we start a new revolution? Begin by taking antitrust enforcement seriously. We also have to ask how to use this economy to foster “artist cooperatives” (like Magnum in photography, or Sunkist in agriculture) to counterbalance tech power.

Dr Jessica Sanger of Germany’s book trade association Borsenverein dived into the nitty-gritty of two German antitrust cases. She referenced a June 2014 complaint about Amazon requesting a publisher to pay a higher discount on e-books; when the publisher said no, Amazon delayed deliveries of the publisher’s print books to customers (sound familiar?).

In June 2015, the European Commission launched a formal probe, but instead of concentrating on coercion, focused on a different aspect: Amazon’s asking for a “most favoured nation” clause. As of now, the practice of delayed deliveries has stopped, and Germany’s Tolino alliance is managing to compete with Kindle.

The second case involves Audible. The German Cartel Office launched an investigation in November about restrictive practices. Although it is ongoing, just the fact of the investigation has resulted in some of the restrictive practices having stopped.

Sanger noted that “the authorities prefer tackling restrictive practices. They’re not keen to go into abuse of dominant position – they need to do too much research to prove it.” The Borsenverein, as a trade association, “is not anti-Amazon. But [they] have made us more consumer-orientated, and we are not scared to tackle anti-trust law, an American invention that is being put to good use in Europe.”

The need for scale to compete in a world dominated by the tech companies was emphasized again this week with the announcement of the sale of Perseus’s publishing divisions to Hachette, and its distribution business to Ingram.

In a Q&A with Shatzkin, John Ingram, chairman and c.e.o. of Ingram Content Group, acknowledged that “this signals a change in our center of gravity. Going forward, the company will look more into the marketing area – discoverability…. It also allows us to be more aggressive about investments.”

Refreshingly, he admitted that when he got into digital early on, there were some “tough years” when things didn’t go well, and he had to deal with pressure from his relatives at the family-owned Ingram business. He made mistakes. “But we had to believe and hang on. There’s always tension between control and innovation. You’ve got to be open to cultural change. This isn’t my father’s Ingram.”

That necessary openness to change was emphasized as well by Mary Ann Naples, formerly of Rodale but who is now taking over as Disney publisher; by Sourcebooks founder Dominique Raccah; and by Quarto c.e.o. Marcus Leaver. For Naples, “transformation is the new safety, and company transformation rests on personal transformation. Embrace failure to play your best game; don’t let it paralyze you.”

Leaver talked of the “mindset change” he had to institute when he took over from a founder who had run the company for 36 years. “We changed from profit to purpose; hierarchy to network; control to empowerment; and short term to long term.  There was a huge lack of clarity and purpose and transparency. Fear of the unknown and unknowable had to be taken out of the creative process. If the person at the top of the tree says ‘I failed,’ it gives permission to the people in the room to make mistakes”.

Now Quarto “behaves as one organization with 44 imprints or businesses that are dynamic portfolios. We used to have 275 separate websites; we cut the publishing to ten categories, and sell as per those categories.”

The proof is in the pudding. Quarto is a listed company, and on 17th March, will announce $13.5m profit before tax, surpassing analysts’ expectations.

Sourcebooks is also on a roll; bucking the trend, its e-books were up 13% in 2015. Its personalized “Put Me in the Story” series is its most successful product. “The strategic problem is to add more value. Don’t worry about perfection; you iterate and start scaling. Understand the consumer experience. The goal is to fail fast and succeed faster,” Raccah advised.