IWSG: Ask PZM, December 2014

It’s that the first Wednesday in the month again, which means Insecure Writer’s Support Group Wednesday. Thanks to our noble Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh, it’s time to share our fears and insecurities, or support and assistance. Doesn’t matter which. 

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The awesome co-hosts for the December 3 posting of the IWSG are Heather Gardner, T. Drecker from Kidbits, Eva E. Solar at Lilicasplace, and Patsy Collins!
Before we get to Ask PZM, just a reminder that The Insecure Writer’s Support Group Guide to Publishing and Beyond is now available for downloading. You can check out the sites here.
Ask PZM, December 2014

Q. Do you have any suggestions for bulk or sponsored book sales?
This book marketing area is a wonderful opportunity for authors although I can only share my own experiences and thoughts on this topic.
In May, 330 copies of my paperback HOW TO SUCCEED IN HIGH SCHOOL AND PREP FOR COLLEGE were ordered from CreateSpace.  I suspect that an elementary school ordered these books for its graduating 8th grade class as this is the ideal target audience for the book.
Then more recently 40 paperbacks copies of my novel MRS. LIEUTENANT were ordered from CreateSpace.  In this case I suspect a book club or high school class because I have book discussion questions and a high school lesson plan on www.MrsLieutenant.com

Now I have been pondering how to get more of these sales.
First question for all of us is: What are the likely groups that might be interested in buying our books in large quantities?
Here we need to think outside the box, as the saying goes.  And we need to think for both fiction and nonfiction after considering that there are two different target markets.
One potential market is the direct readers, such as book groups and schools.  The second potential market is sponsored books.
Direct readers
With the direct readers you could, for example, offer an author visit or skype call in connection to a group reading of your book.  Or if you have a children’s picture book, you might offer to do a classroom art activity around some aspect connected to the picture book. 
You can start locally by contacting high schools or community colleges in your area.  For many readers meeting an author is very exciting, so an author visit can definitely encourage group purchases.
Note that the purchases can be the ebooks instead of the physical books.  And in either case, the book discussion questions and high school lesson plan, for example, can be included in the books themselves.   (I have this material in the ebook of MRS. LIEUTENANT but not the paperback.  It would be relatively easy for me to add this same material to my paperback on CreateSpace.)
Sponsored books
In this scenario you locate companies who could benefit from the marketing goodwill of giving away your books for free to their customers or clients.  Again, these could be the physical books or the ebooks.
For example, if you have written a book about estate planning and included information on life insurance, you might approach an insurance company and ask if the company would be interested in buying copies of your book to give to their customers.  You can offer a wholesale rate that provides revenue to you and costs the company less than buying the books retail.
You could even do this if you have written a novel whose storyline concerns a major plot about insurance.  Even a cautionary tale about insurance could be of interest to an insurance company.
Note that you can license your ebook so that a company may give away as many copies as agreed upon for a set licensing fee.  This financial arrangement can be very beneficial for both parties.
And if you have more than one book, of course those books are listed at the end of the sponsored book.  In this case you’re being paid to have free advertising for your other books.
Branding opportunities
If you are a self-published author, you can also offer branding opportunities for your sponsored books.  You can, for example, add content to your book about the company sponsoring the book.  You can even add the company’s name to the cover, such as “The Ideal Insurance Company presents” [your book title].
While there might be cases in which two companies sponsoring the same book would not be a good idea (such as the only two department stores in a small town), in most cases you can offer branding opportunities to numerous companies.
Prior commitments
If your ebook is on Amazon’s KDP Select with its ebook exclusive requirement, you will need to end the KDP Select commitment before your ebook can be given away.  And although I am not a lawyer, I would say that this would be true even if you were adding sponsorship branding material to the ebook.  It’s still the same ebook, and you don’t want to get in hot water with Amazon.
The good news is that KDP Select does not require exclusivity of the physical books, so even if your ebook is on KDP Select, you can look for bulk deals for the paperback.
Finding companies interested in sponsorship opportunities
Here I don’t have any specific advice.  I personally am interested in finding high school teacher associations who might be interested in either HOW TO SUCCEED IN HIGH SCHOOL or MRS. LIEUTENANT.

(If you have any suggestions for me, you can leave these in the comments below.  Unfortunately I won’t be able to respond in the comments.  As Joylene and I have known for some time, her blogging software doesn’t allow me to leave comments.  Yet I do read all the comments each month and am very grateful for the positive responses.)
Put on your thinking cap and brainstorm the different kinds of companies who could benefit from a branded sponsorship opportunity with your nonfiction or fiction book.  Hopefully this brainstorming will produce several opportunities for you to pursue.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is a digital marketer as well as a fiction and nonfiction author.  She blogs on book-related topics at her author site at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com and she is on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ZimblerMiller

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