How to Sell Books

This past weekend Jen and I travelled to Richmond, VA for an all day Christian music festival where we would be selling books in the “Author’s Tent.” We were one among sixteen tables where authors were selling and signing their books. It was hot (heat index hovering around 105) and the turnout for the festival was no where near what was expected. Selling books was going to be a chore.

I watched many of the other authors sit behind their tables and do little to engage people as they passed through the tent. At the end of the day, few books were sold. More than one author walked away with less than five sales.

Jen and I took a different approach. We stood most of the day, engaged people as they passed our table, talked to them, joked with them, told them about my books, the stories behind the stories, which one we each liked best, and why they would like them as well.

And we sold books. Twenty-three of them. Not a staggering number but considering the conditions of the day and what we were up against we were both happy with the outcome.

And I learned a valuable lesson as well. Not one person came into that author’s tent with the intent to buy a Mike Dellosso book but we convinced twenty-three people that they would enjoy one.

Those sales didn’t come easy, we worked hard for each one and I sincerely hope the buyers will be happy with their purchase, enjoy the story, think about the message behind the story, and maybe, just maybe I’ll have earned the respect and loyalty of another reader.

Selling books is like anything else: it’s the people, stupid. People are what matter. If you believe in the story you’ve written (or read) and truly believe it will benefit someone else, that enthusiasm will connect the two of you and a bond will be formed.


About mikedellosso

Mike Dellosso is an author of wide-eyed suspense. He writes stories that not only entertain but enlighten.

Posted on June 23, 2010, in Writing Life and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Exactly. Which is precisely why so much of the current marketing doesn’t work.


  2. way to go mike and jen!!


  3. You are awesome Mike!

    I attended a book signing last year for an author not well-known in the Southeast. Her signing was right at the front door of the store, and she and her husband did exactly what you guys did…and they sold books. I don’t know how many, but more than if they had just sat there and smiled! The message in your book needs to be shared, and God has allowed you to do just that! Way to go!!


  4. So when is Darlington Woods coming out on e-book? That will be a great way to sell books. Well, honestly, if I’d met you at a book fair, I would’ve bought a hard copy, too, but I’ve got this nice new toy called a Nook . . .


  5. Hi Mike – I was one of those other authors with you in the tent and I did about 15 books. Your method is exactly what I do at all my book signings. I go with a basket of candy and bookmarks and greet everyone that walks into the book store or walk around to the cafe and talk to people. I usually average 20-25 books. Several of my well known author friends (even Stephen Lawhead) hate book signings because they sit at the table, wait and end up selling only a couple of books. It is all about getting to know people and not giving them the “hard sell”. I learned that thru my own personal experience and had it confirmed thru my book promotion company which treat book marketing very different and very effectively.

    It was really great to meet you there and share medical stories. I hope we can become better friends!


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