I recently received the following question from a client of ours:
Should I try to sell my book in bulk because individual book sales don’t typically give authors much of a profit?
This is a great question.
It’s true, individual book sales don’t often make an author very much money.
There are a ton of different estimations for what the average (nonfiction) writer makes so it wasn’t totally clear as I was looking for what that number might be, but I found that the most common answer was a few hundred copies.
So going back to my client’s question… bulk sales do sound like a pretty good option.
My Advice on Selling Books in Bulk
My suggestion: instead of charging a speaker fee, ask the event you’re speaking at to buy a copy of your book for everyone in the audience. (Obviously a suggestion for someone who enjoys speaking or wants to do get into it).
Typically, a book can be printed for around $3 a copy on Amazon. If you don’t know how to set up your Amazon account or need help doing so, we can help you here at Best Seller Publishing.
Let’s say you get an invitation to speak at an event that will have 500 guests.
A good speaker fee (the amount they’d pay you) is usually $5,000 – $10,000.
In lieu of charging them a speaking fee, you can ask them to buy 500 books at a discount. If the retail price for the book is $24.95, you can offer it to them at $20, maybe even $15.
You’ll still make your typical profit of $12 a book, which would be $6,000 AND you’ll be getting it into the hands of 500 new people.
Now you’re getting paid to speak to your ideal clients and they all get to go home with your book. It’ll sit on their desk and be a constant reminder of how you can help them.
Selling to a company is a different game because unless they’re reaching out to you, you’re going to have to sell them on why they should buy your book.
Although, you could always approach a corporation with an offer to speak for their employees and use the same model I just mentioned and have them buy copies of your book for everyone in lieu of a speaker fee… I want to share some other ways to go about it.
First, let’s go over what some of your options are in terms of what you can offer…
In most cases, a company would be able to offer your book as a consumer gift or incentive or it can be used as a training tool or morale booster for employees.
Next, you want to go through your book to see if you’ve mentioned any companies or products because that’s who you’ll want to go after first.
Then, take a moment to think about the message of your book. Does it align with any other companies within the same industry?
To find out what a company’s message is, it’s best to look at their website or even their ads.
What companies should you be going after?
You can try a simple search on Google for “(your industry) companies.” I’ve been told that www.thomasregister.com is also a great resource that will link you to national and international companies in your industry.
Make sure you don’t overlook local companies. There could be dozens of industries, companies, and organizations in your area that would be worth going after. Local companies usually welcome the opportunity to support local authors.
Once you have a good list, it’s time to pitch. This can go any number of ways depending on your book and who you’re contacting.
Sometimes companies are looking for a book or something to share with their employees and other times this could be a new and exciting idea for them.
You might want to send a copy of your book and a proposal before you even make phone contact with them.
If you’re suggesting they use your book as an employee incentive, it would be a good idea to mention in your sales letter how employee incentives increase individual performance and team performance.
Regardless of who you’re approaching and how you’re going about it, remember to be open and creative.
The same approach probably won’t work for every company on your list and oftentimes companies want to put their logo on the cover page or include an extra page in the book from the President or CEO. (This would be a good thing to double-check with your printer to make sure it’s doable and affordable).
I also always suggest giving a discount when asking companies to buy your book in bulk.
So how long does this process take?
It could happen in a week or it could take a year or more, but remember the book sales aren’t the most important aspect when going after these bulk sales.
The goal of having a nonfiction book as a business owner should always be to establish authority in your industry, get more leads, and ultimately gain more clients.
Your potential clients are worth more than the price of your book.