Hometown Book Sales

Posted by Sherrie Wilkolaski
Published On Sep 27, 2014

by Nicole Riley

98937 5988 Kenn Kiser resized 600Once you have a completed book in your hands, it’s time to get out there and show it to your hometown.

The first step is to be vigilant. The key to direct selling is to look for opportunities everywhere.  Very few places will be as excited about your book than the area where you live.

Remember, people in your hometown will be more receptive to hearing about your book than those that have no connection to you. Sell your book to friends from church, work, local bookstores, local places you shop, the local gym.   If your town holds any festivals or fairs, rent a booth there to promote your book as a local author. If people from your area like your book, they’ll tell their friends and a ripple effect will form.  You might want to volunteer with organizations with whom you identify. Get involved and your customer base will grow.  Civic Organizations are often looking for speakers in various topics.

Try not to be scared of giving copies of your book away. 

Donating is a great way to build a name in the literary community. If appropriate, give copies of your book to local schools or reading organizations. Those who get a copy of a book for free may enjoy it and recommend that their friends buy it. Some customers may be reluctant to buy a book they don’t know.  Word of mouth is a valuable effect of direct sales.

  • There are a few suggestions for you to follow when visiting your local bookstore.

  • Visit your local store between the hours of 10-11 or 2-5.  Avoid busy traffic times such as lunch time.

  • Identify the shelf your book may fit on.  Is there a section for your category?  Is there a local author section?

  • Each book store and buyer will have its own personality.  It is important to evaluate and adapt to the stores culture before speaking with the person in charge of ordering.

  • When dealing with retailers always remember to look and act professional.

  • Identify the person you may need to speak with.  In Independent bookstores it may be the owner or the book buyer.  In a chain store such as a B&N you may want to ask for the Community Relations Manager or the store manager.

  • Have promotional material and a copy of your book at your fingertips.  Promotional material may include a Sales Sheet or a Press Release.  Make sure any material being given includes correct contact information.

  • After identifying the appropriate person to speak with introduce yourself as the author, and offer a copy of the book and materials for review.  Be confident but not pushy.  You will be asked where your book is available.  You will need to provide availability and ordering information.

  • Ask if the store participates in any type of author events or book signings.

  • Ask when and if, following up with them would be appropriate.  Making a follow up connection is much different than being overly harassing.

  • Be considerate of a store’s right to turn you down, and simply move on to your next location.

Now that you have the basics to selling to your hometown, please do not be discouraged if you are not receiving desired feedback.

Some helpful sites for donating and working with organizations:



Getting Publicity for Your Book


Nicole Riley has been selling books to Barnes and Noble as well as the national and specialty book buyers since 2009.  Riley uses her remarkable attention to detail and focus to keep NSD books moving briskly through retail and wholesale channels.  An experienced and highly-respected sales rep, Riley has an over 82% success rate at getting books placed in the bookstore and library market.

Image courtesy of Kenn Kiser.

Topics: book marketing, book promotion, sell more books, bookstores, book sales

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