How to Sell Books by Mail
Now that you have written that attractive report, how are you going to sell it? Perhaps you have already tried by placing a carefully written classified or maybe a large display ad, then waited for the postman to pile the flood of orders in your box. What happened? The odds are 100 to 1 that you came up with a couple of orders for all the time and effort. Why? You see continuous ads, small ones and full page $4,000 ads in newspapers, and magazines offering books and information. Many of them are repeated over and over again by the same advertiser. You know that they are making it or they could not continue to advertise month after month. How are they making it when you don't seem to have any luck?
By examining the operations of these successful people we find that they use several simple and easy methods to produce excessive profits in the Mail Order Book Selling Business. When you know these methods and put them to work for yourself you will find that you too have the opportunity to make big money in this business.
To start yourself on the road to success in writing your own books and reports then selling them...Anytime and every time you think of an idea or book title, write it down immediately. Regardless of how idiotic it may appear to you at first, it could be the ingredient you need to start you on the way to a fortune. File your notes and look them over periodically. You put yourself in a position whereby you have a good chance to come up with an idea or a title that will be a real money-making "Blockbuster."
If you are writings are about your own experiences on an inspirational or how-to subject, consider writing the book as well as the ads that sell it, in the "first person". This gives the reader the feeling he is getting personal communication and is not just a number in a computer.
Many in Mail Order business, including ourselves, have indicated that it is not a good policy and often a waste of time and money to advertise in a general daily or weekly newspaper. This is true under ordinary circumstances, but we find that when you have a real "strong" title it pays to place conservative "test" ads in the newspaper in order to learn the results quickly. However one must keep extensive records in order to compare results and determine if they may have a winner.
When tests indicate you have a winner, all that is left too do is expand the advertising in the proper media and fill orders. It is advisable to structure the price of your book so an offer will stand an advertising expense of at least one-half of the selling price. You need to spend this much for advertising in order to be successful.
A 100% guarantee is a must in the book selling business. Not everyone who purchases your book, regardless oh how "great" it is, is going to benefit from it. There are always a few who will want their money back. You must have a unique guarantee which reassures them they haven't spent their money until they are satisfied. This can be done in many different ways, such as holding their checks for 30 days or longer before depositing them.
For the author/self-publisher, selling by mail is really the only way to go. The production costs are low because the value is in the information, not necessary in the number of pages written. Mail Order is one of the finest businesses ever for the little guy who wants the opportunity to try for the big "bucks"! All you have to do is test with just small expenditure, correct your mistakes and let the business expand itself!
Action pictures used in your ads get fabulous results if handled right. Especially productive are ideas showing your product in action. Search out the drawings and pictures used in better ads that run month after month to learn what effective copywriting is all about, then use the same ideas for your comparative publication.
If you are able to write a "self improvement' book or handbook with very valuable information and at the same time make it lively, witty and interesting, you could have the makings of a million dollar winner. After your first tests prove reasonable, determine if a more reasonable price structure will produce better net profit through appealing to a large audience. When you find it hitting real good, promote it in every way possible. Send out several hundred copies to book reviewers to get write-ups in as many publications as possible. Learn to deal with the many small booksellers and bookstores, or cooperate with some large distributors to get the books out through their normal channels.
As you grow and progress, build up and maintain your name lists. Make them available to other firms who wish to make offers to proven buyers.
When you find the right combination (title, body and ad), a lot of money can be made in a short time and it is a great thrill to write and ad, test it, and see the money pouring in from your own creative ability.
The large publishing companies use a shotgun approach, publishing many titles when profiting from the few successful ones. They can't begin to market effectively all the many books on their list and try to sell your book through them is generally futile. Do it yourself and control the entire operation. If it doesn't go you can cut if off before heavy promotional expenditures bury you. You remain flexible and diversified when you are your own publisher.
Run some small classified advertisements in the Wall Street Journal and other good publications, to get inquires. When enough books are sold to more than cover the cost of the ads and mailings, slowly, as the profits build up, run more and larger ad. As sells prove your publications to be winners, you can run full pages ads in national magazines, inviting direct orders with a coupon included in the ads.
Remember, as you sit down to write, the information should be about something in which you are knowledgeable and interested, or something you have thoroughly researched. It must have some value for the readers and they should benefit by having read it. If it is not helpful to the reader and the benefits are not there, sells cannot be sustained.
In summary, your book must fill a genuine need; the price structure must be correct, there has to be a large or mass market for the information in your book, your advertising must be believable, you must offer a strong guarantee, you must test thoroughly before investing substantial amounts to promote and sell the book.
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$40,000 a Year in "Editorial Services"
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Pocket $75,000 a Year as a Newsletter Publisher
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