On the Road To Riches, Take An Alternate Route

When our world was a simpler place, Mom and Pop stores flourished on every corner. When you needed shoes, you went to a shoe store. Need a birthday cake, you bought it at the bakery and, if you wanted to read a hot romance novel, or the latest murder mystery, you went to the bookstore.

But times and the marketplace have been a changiní. Mega stores such as Wal-Mart, Target and Cosco have sprung up all over the county, bringing about the demise of small, local businesses. With todayís hectic lifestyle, no one has time to run all over town for individual items. Busy consumers, with little time, now get their milk, son's new tennis shoes, daughter's hair bows, hubby's aftershave, a new car battery, and the latest best-seller, all in one place. We can no longer wait for the reading public to come to us. We must go to them!

While it would seem ideal for authors to host book signing events at a major or even an independent bookstore, imaginative authors can find a host of other venues where readers purchase books. Take a look around your supermarket or your local gas station "mini-mart". Any 'convenience' market where people flock by the thousands might be the perfect, although a bit unconventional, location to sell your book.

Your first obstacle is figuring out how to get books on their shelves. Begin with the store manager. They may tell you all merchandise simply arrives via some mega main warehouse somewhere--so they might not be able to order your book, but might be able to tell you who to call to find out who can. Donít be shy! Once youíve made the contact, convince them that having an event at their store will bring them more business and increase sales. Make them an offer they canít refuse.

Find holiday tie-ins to your book and connect it to merchandise the store carries. Greeting cards for major holidays is easy, but if your story involves someone trying to quit smoking, plan your event on March 9; "National No Smoking Day" and put a display of chewing gum, or other smokerís aids, alongside your book. Okay, that may be a bit of a stretch, but the publicity alone could gain you a table in front of a major grocery store. On a Saturday. Obscure holidays can be found on Blue Mountain and other e-greeting card sites. A little research can go a long way.

In addition to selling your hard copy, offer your book as an "ebook" at a reduced cost. Look into computer stores and software locations. Since most of us write on computers, itís a very simple process to convert your file into an Adobe PDF format using Adobeís on-line conversion software. Once you have the new format on a disk, you can set up a demonstration, using the computer right in the store and sell your book at the same time. Use the storeís products, such as their disks, to make copies and sell them on the spot! The novelty alone will create interest, while putting your book into the hands of readers and generating sales for the store as well.

Most cities host a number of festivals that have little or nothing to do with books. But why let that stop you? Contact your local Chamber of Commerce, bookstores, and libraries. They all have information on various events happening in your area that you might be able to participate in.

Depending on where you live, there are small festivals--like a pumpkin festival, a citrus festival, or (Name of town) Days, especially in small towns. These are excellent places to rent a booth to promote and sell your book to the community. If itís a charity hosting the event, offer to donate a portion of your sales to that charity as an incentive to participate.

Check out the local art shows, pet shows, gift fairs; many will sell you space where you can be the star. Small coffee houses may host events for local artists. Think! Look around you. The possibilities are endless and you just may find the Road to Riches became a little bit shorter because you chose to take an alternate route!

(My thanks to Pepper Raines who contributed to portions of this article)


U-Turn to The Road To Riches