Posts Tagged Sell Your Books!

Everybody Works In Sales

When I was offered an ARC of Everybody Works in Sales by Niraj Kapur I immediately said, “Yes, please!” How to Sell
The reason? As writers, I feel we are each increasingly having to be our own salesman. We might be marketing our self-published books, pitching an article to an editor, writing an agent covering letter or polishing up our website. So, I hoped Everybody Works in Sales might reveal to me the secret formula of selling books, short stories and articles.

Of course it didn’t because deep down we all know there is no secret formula to sales. But the book did teach me what the mindset of a salesman should be – and it isn’t SELL! SELL! SELL!
The three main points I took away from Everybody Works in Sales were:

  • Don’t try to constantly sell ‘at’ people willy-nilly (e.g. frequent ‘buy my books’ tweeting). Instead take the time to build relationships – with magazine editors, book shops, social media followers etc.
  • Nothing succeeds like hard work.
  • Treat your customers/readers/editors/followers as you would like to be treated.

Two quotations from the book which are worth pondering:

  • Care for people and ask for nothing immediately in return.
  • You can always go further in a group than by yourself – maybe that’s why we writers like to collect together and share experiences?

But this book has more to offer than these simple lessons. There are many  inspirational quotations and advice on making progress in a corporate career. The book follows the career of its author, Niraj Kapur, the bad bits as well as the good bits. He’s had some tough times in his working life and his experiences might help you if you’re trying to climb the greasy pole in sales or management.

In places the book’s language is unpolished and reflects the way I imagine Niraj would speak. It is conversational rather than textbook and allows the author’s background and personality to come through. It’s as though Niraj is in the room with you.

Everybody Works in Sales is an easy read that shares inspirational thoughts for leading a better life in the workplace, building relationships with potential customers and networking.

Niraj Kapur

About Everybody Works in Sales
We all work in sales. If you work for somebody, you earn a living by selling their product or service. If you are self-employed, you earn a living by selling your product or service.
When you buy from Amazon, they always recommended other products similar to the ones you are purchasing or have already purchased – that’s selling. When you download a song, movie or TV show from iTunes, they always recommend more similar products. That’s selling.
When you register for most websites, they sell their products or services to you through a regular email.
When you attend an exhibition at the NEC, London ExCel, Olympia, Manchester or even a local market, everyone is trying to sell you their product.
We all work in sales, yet few people know how to sell. Until now.
Containing 27 valuable lessons, plus 17 interviews with experts, Everybody Works in Sales combines unique storytelling and personal development to ensure you have the tools you need to do better in your career.
Available on Kindle and in paperback from Amazon.



About Niraj Kapur

Award-winning executive, Niraj Kapur, has worked in corporate London for 23 years. From small businesses to a national newspaper to FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 companies, he’s experienced it all and shares his insight, knowledge, big wins and horrible failures.
Niraj has also had several screenplays optioned, sitcoms commissioned, kids’ shows on Channel 5’s Milkshake and CBBC. His movie, Naachle London, was released in select cinemas across the UK.
He’s working on his next book while advising companies and coaching individuals on how to improve their sales.
Follow Niraj on Twitter: @Nirajwriter or find him on LinkedIn:


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Sell Books

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Sell Your Books! Part 2

In my last post I introduced you to Debbie Young – book promotion guru. And this post concludes her sage advice:Sell Your Books! by Debbie Young

Many writers worry about the time-consuming nature of maintaining a presence on social media. What is the best platform (blog, Twitter, Facebook etc.) to concentrate on?

All of these do different things, so it’s hard to say that one is better than the other. 

With a blog, you are totally in control. Running a blog on your website will increase its standing before search engines, so I’d recommend it to all authors – and writing blog posts is a great exercise for honing your writing skills, too.
Twitter allows you to reach people you’d never meet in real life, who share your interests and passions – so select the right people to follow and they’ll be naturally predisposed to liking your book.
Facebook is good at keeping your progress before those you know, and for getting friends to “share” your posts with their friends – a kind of pyramid selling! You can also create a Facebook  page specifically for your book, rather than putting it on  your personal Facebook page.
GoodReads is a great way of networking with people who are, by definition, all avid readers (and a lot of writers too).
But social media can be hugely time-consuming! It’s a question of discipline, self-knowledge and honesty. Be firm about what you want to get out of these things, and only use them to help you reach those goals.
How can a self-published author gain national publicity for their book – local papers and radio stations may be willing to promote a writer from their region but how does a writer move outside his own geographical area?
Social media is the biggest opportunity, because you can make contacts with people from all over the world. But there are other, more traditional opportunities too. I’d recommend not touting your book to get national recognition, but coming up with interesting comment and valuable expertise to gain you coverage as a person – as a commentator or programme contributor – from which more awareness of your book will follow. I’ve often listened to an interesting discussion on the radio between anonymous voices and heard at the end the names of the people and the books they wrote. I’ve gone off and bought the book on the strength of it.

On Radio 4 alone there are plenty of magazine shows that need topical, expert material for their programmes – Woman’s Hour, Money Box, the Today Programme, PM. Your book and the knowledge or experience that enabled you to write it might give you viable ideas for an article, or an engaging comment to follow up a programme.

Approach your target programme’s production office with a well-thought out idea, backed up by your credentials as the author of a book on the subject, and you may get lucky.
(Other national outlets can also be approached in this spirit – the nature of your book will dictate what should be your priority, e.g. a special interest national magazine in  your field.)

Whichever media you approach, always have the media coverage you’ve had to date, your sales figures, and your reviews at your fingertips. When you put it all together, you might surprise yourself with what an impressive portfolio your book has.
Keep track of current public debate relevant to your genre. Get involved in national discussion via old-fashioned letters to the editor, comments on blogs or radio phone-ins. Always quote your credentials as the author of a relevant book, this will make it clear that you are an expert with something interesting to say about the subject.
Be opportunist. Manufacture your own luck. If you want to win the lottery, as the old joke goes, you have to buy a ticket…
Thank you for the advice, Debbie and there’s lots more great information in Debbie’s book and on her blog.


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Sell Your Books! Part 1

Here in the blogosphere you trip over lots of very knowledgable people  and they’re all very generous with their support and Sell Your Books! by Debbide Youngadvice.

Debbie Young is one such person. Debbie is an absolute expert on book promotion and marketing. She has 30 years experience in the industry and runs Off The Shelf Book Promotions which offers a bespoke marketing and promotion service to self-published authors (she also maintains a very useful blog of book promotion tips here.)

Debbie’s book Sell Your Books! has just been published (I’ve read it and it’s excellent – well worth buying if you want to give your book the push it deserves). I asked her a few questions about selling books and her answers were so comprehensive that I’ve split them into two blog posts. Here we go with number 1:

It’s often said that a writer needs to build a potential readership before their book is published. Do you agree and if so, how would you recommend doing this?

Try to define your potential readership, so that you can bear them in mind whilst writing the book. But don’t let it distract or divert you from actually getting the writing done nor  from writing the book you want to write. Be true to yourself.

 Always be on the look out for practical ways of reaching your target audience. Keep a note of useful websites, interest groups etc that you can come back to when you are ready. Watch out for what others in your field are doing to promote their books.

By all means engage with your potential readership but don’t show them your hand before you are ready – your book may evolve into something quite different to what you expected!

Consider also: other influential writers who you might ask to review your book; book reviewers; book bloggers; local booksellers; interest groups for your genre or topic. Follow their blogs and comment on their blog posts. Follow them on Twitter, befriend them on Facebook and GoodReads. Write reviews of their books. Comment on their book reviews on Amazon and GoodReads. Post worthwhile comments on their websites. Go to their public events. When commenting online anywhere, include a link to all your contact details (website, Twitter, email etc) so they can track back to you and the relationship can be a two-way thing. Then, when your book is published, you will be a familiar (and hopefully respected!) name to them and they will be well-disposed towards your new book. 

Secure your own website address (URL) in advance so that it can be printed on your book jacket. But don’t be tempted to promote the book before it exists. This can be counter-productive. You’ll have much more impact on a bookshop, for example, if you can go in with actual samples of your book, a fully functional website and a few reviews, than with nothing physical to show. These things give you much more credibility as an author whose books are going to make a profit for the store.

 There’s a lull between finishing your manuscript, proofing it and it being on sale as a finished product – that’s a really good time to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in. But don’t rush things. In this digital age of e-books and on-demand printing, there’s no rush to start marketing your book, because it’s never actually too late. Your book doesn’t come with a sell-by date, and it won’t be remaindered or de-listed by your publisher (i.e. you!). There’s more about this on my blog here.

On the other hand, don’t err on the side of sloth! You do HAVE to put in the effort sooner or later if your book is going to be successful, because no matter how good it is, it won’t sell itself if you don’t promote it at some time.

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