I have been researching a new project. No, it’s not about writing an insane amount of books in some crazy time span. I want to talk about Author Stores.
I don’t know if you’ve paid attention to something that seems to have popped up over night…Author Stores. I’m not sure who’s store was the first to grab my attention, but I know I’ve visited quite a few in the past few months. How did I miss this? I come from a retail background and I missed the launch of this marketing concept. As an Indie Writer, I understand I wear several hats: producer, manufacturer and wholesale distributor. Retail Proprietor, apart from selling signed book, never occurred to me.
In my retail business, occasionally, I produce or private label items. However, it never occurred to me to do the same for my books. At one time, I did briefly post my poetry book on my lingerie site, but took it down. It didn’t feel right. However, that’s about to change.
My awakening to this phenomenon came after reading a Brenda Novak post on BookBub [9 Book Advertising Tactics I’ve Tried… And Which Ones Worked!]. In the nine advertising things she tried several caught my eye, but the one about subscription book boxes really stuck out.
Now I was familiar with subscription boxes and to be honest, who hasn’t? Let’s talk, author friend to author friend. There are subscription boxes for everything. And I mean that literally. In my quest to research this, I found boxes for mixology, your pet, coffee/tea/hot chocolate, beauty/spa, fitness wear, clothing and my favorite feminine hygiene. Let’s take a pause, that last one really caught my eye. It include the obvious item, plus jewelry, chocolate and tea. Man, why couldn’t I have created that one.
Back to what I was saying. After reading Brenda’s blog post, I began researching. In my search, I discovered, apart from the companies that sponsor book subscription boxes, which seem to be more difficult to get into than my skinny jeans from ten years ago, but authors doing their own boxes. Bingo! That was it. If all these premium and newbie authors could do it, why couldn’t I. Pause for reflection. The last time I tried something someone else did, I wrote and published twelve plus titles in a year. I’m sure this will be a lot easier to copy.
This is where the Author Store discovery happened. In stalking, I found out not only were authors selling subscription boxes, but a host of other things as well. I saw stores with mugs, blankets, stadium cups, t-shirts, hats, journals, jewelry, candles, the list goes on. Oh yeah, and signed books. Here I thought I was doing well to offer links for my ebooks plus signed copies on my website.
Retail selling is my world. I know about online shopping, that’s what I do. I know wholesale shopping, private label products, gift packaging. Heck, I started out selling gift baskets and know how to get stuff. So how is it I missed this? It’s bad enough I have no swag to mention. Now let me explain that. I forgot as a writer that I have to think like a reader/consumer. I personally don’t collect a lot of branded items. Let me clarify. I collect designer clothes, shoes, bags and accessories. I do like to collect those cards Kate Spade puts out every month. But, I’m not the chip clip, pen, button, bag, mug, stickie notes girl. It has to be really amazing for me to get it. But after several conversations with the swag lady, she opened my eyes. It’s not about what I like, but about what will attract the reader. These little things I find insignificant, help to keep my name in the reader’s face. And if they like the item and your book, they’ll tell their friends, “Hey you have got to read this author. Oh yeah, and she gave me this amazing….”.
In my quest to sell more books, I forgot a key marketing principle “Seven Touches”. There have been studies about this. Apparently it takes seven touches before someone makes a decision to buy your product. Now I get it. The little things I thought were a waste of money are my seven touches.
This is bigger than just a few pieces of swag and the occasional reader contest, this is a side hustle and only limited by your imagination. And if it’s done correctly, it could become very lucrative. Plus you could sell a lot of books.
I’m putting on my retailer hat and building a new store, “The Sophisticated Reader Store”. Step one: A Coming Soon Sign…done.
Have an amazing month.
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