Seven Secrets for Successfully Selling Books

13 10 2021

by Brian Jud
Bowker | Tue Oct 5, 2021
 The trek to special-sales success can be long, arduous and frustrating — but at the same time personally rewarding and profitable. Through it all, a strong and determined attitude can serve as the GPS on your path to success. There are several basic axioms in book marketing in general (and special sales in particular) that may have a negative impact on your attitude. Know in advance that these are going to occur, and the negative impact on your attitude may be reduced. 

  • Rejection is a way of life. Be forewarned that you will be rejected far more times than you will be accepted, and this may wear away at your attitude. But do not take rejection personally. That is easy to say, yet it can be done if you accept rejection as a challenge to learn, improve your strategy and tactics and thereby increase the likelihood that you will close the sale next time.
  • People make decisions on their schedules, not on yours. One of the problems with setting a sales objective is that it is based on your forecasts and your presumptions of what people will buy and when they will buy it. However, your potential customers do not know this. They only know what they want and when they want it. Their needs and deadlines may not coincide with yours. Your prospects may have promotions planned for next year and your book will fit nicely with them. But they will not buy until next year regardless of your goal.  
  • The order is rarely as much as you had hoped. Again, buyers purchase what they need, not what you forecast. And since many buy on a non-returnable basis, they will not commit to a large quantity until it has proven successful. 

 Think of the elements of your attitude as you would the spokes of a wheel on an old Conestoga wagon. All the spokes must be in place if the wheel is to function properly for the length of the trip. If one or more of them is broken, the wheel could be crushed under the pressure of the wagon. Similarly, you have seven “spokes” to maintain for an effective book-marketing attitude. They enable you to remain competent, professional, enthusiastic and successful throughout your journey to sell your books in special markets. These seven Cs are:            1) Courage. It takes a little bravery to break free from your habits of selling only to bookstores. Leaving your comfort zone is never easy, yet it must be done. In special-sales marketing, it also takes courage to… • seek assistance in your quest. You do not have to go through all this alone. For example, if you need sales help, hire a consultant or join an APSS Mastermind Group and benefit form OPM – Other People’s Minds.  • accept responsibility for your circumstances. Blaming unresponsive prospects for lost sales will not solve your problem. Discover what went wrong and then correct it. • go on the offense. At times you may feel as if you have lost control and that the potential customers “hold all the cards.” If you relinquish control of your actions, you will end up selling only to bookstores and libraries rather than soliciting new markets and opportunities. One way to go on the offensive is to be assertive during negotiations. A sales call is analogous to a sporting event: you can only score when you have possession of the ball. If the interviewer controls the ball for the entire game, you may not get to make your presentation. If you simply “attend” a negotiation without actively participating, you will not score many points. • try different approaches. It takes valor to attempt something untried, and this is exactly what you must do to shake up your thinking and be creative in the action you take. 2) Commitment is the knowledge that “If it’s to be it’s up to me,” as Brian Tracy implored. Commitment is also the ability to devote your entire focus on the attainment of your objective. It is the discipline to continue trying in the face of adversity and rejection. Commitment is the understanding that you are not perfect, and therefore you must continue evaluating your results and trying different tactics, using trial-and-error and learning from your mistakes.        3) Competition, or the spirit of vying with others for a prize, may be more successful if you direct your competition toward yourself instead of others. Competition does not have to be against others for you to win. Compete with yourself to contact one more person per day this week than you did last week. Look for ways to make your selling skills better than they were yesterday but not as good as they will be tomorrow. Seek one more idea to solve a problem. Attempt to improve yourself in some way, every day. Improve on your actions and skills and you are more likely to become successful more quickly. From a different perspective, some authors feel that their content is unique and they have no competition. That is untrue in retail marketing where you are competing against other books for shelf space, media time and share of wallet. It is also untrue when selling to corporate buyers where you compete against coffee mugs, umbrellas, golf shirts and many other promotional items.  4) Confidence is the ability to entrust yourself with your future. Self-confidence will bolster your courage to perform all the tasks you may be reluctant to do. It will enable you to make cold-calls in person or to pick up that “200-pound telephone” and make more sales calls.           5) Concentration. The most points scored in football games are made in the last two minutes before the end of each half. The players are concentrating on getting the points on the board before time runs out. They are not thinking about what happens if they lose, but on scoring the points necessary to win. Play the special-sales game as if you are always in the last two minutes of the second half. Concentrate on the rewards of success, not the consequences of failure. Progress in special sales has less to do with speed than it does with direction. Concentration serves as the compass with the arrow pointed directly and unfailingly at your goal. 6) Creativity can help you make a molehill out of a mountain. The dictionary defines creativity, “to cause to exist; bring into being; originate.” If you are to be successful in special-sales marketing, you must cause opportunities to happen. There will be cases in which your prospective customers have never used books as a premium or sold books in their stores. Your creativity will serve you well by demonstrating to them how they could use books in new ways. Sell your romance novel to limousine services, or your book on leadership to coaches in high school or college sports. Find new ways to make sales happen. 7) Control. Some people define control as a restraining act, the need to hold back or curb something. But it is really a dynamic process, as one controls a horse with the reins. It is the ability to recognize an opportunity that comes to you on the spur of the moment, evaluate and pursue it even though it was not part of your original plan. Control requires adjustments to compensate for predictable and unforeseen circumstances as you move toward your objective. With control, you can apply your creativity professionally. It directs your commitment so you can pursue your goals. It helps you use your confidence for productive means. A controlled grip on your anxiety will give you the courage to continue with your efforts even after you have been rejected most of the time. And it ensures that you maintain your competitive edge. Think of controlling your book-marketing activities as you would driving and maintaining your car. You turn it on, put it in gear, direct it toward your destination, determine the speed with which you move ahead, make corrections in your course, schedule it for regular maintenance and add fuel periodically.  Work with the ideas presented here to monitor your attitude, then increase your sales and profitability in special-sales markets. Use what is good for you and your titles. Keep an open mind, look for new opportunities and make it happen. It is all up to you.  —————————————————————————————————————— Brian Jud is the Executive Director of the Association of Publishers for Special Sales (APSS – and author of How to Make Real Money Selling Books (second edition published in August, 2021) and Beyond the Bookstore. Contact Brian at or and twitter @bookmarketing   


10 09 2021

SMALL PRESSES  * ACADEMIC PRESSES  * MICRO PRESSES  *  SELF-PUBLISHERS — $2,500 GRAND PRIZE — LOW ENTRANCE FEE: discount $60 early registration postmarked by 12/14 ($70 after)

Register early for savings.

New or old, we want to read your book. … Each year, independent publishers release extraordinary books to little or no recognition. The Eric Hoffer Book Award recognizes excellence in publishing. A SINGLE REGISTRATION gives you SEVEN WAYS TO WIN by genre, press, the Montaigne Medal, the da Vince Eye, the First Horizon Award, the Medal Provocateur (for poetry), and the Hoffer grand prize. There is a category for every book. (See submission guidelines below or check our listing in Writer’s Market or visit E-books and chapbooks also accepted.

          * $2,500 GRAND PRIZE *
          * Low Entrance Fee: $60 early registration by 12/14 *
          * Many Categories (see below) *
          * E-BOOK categories for fiction and nonfiction *
             & ROMANCE categories *
          * CHAPBOOK category at a reduced rate: $45 *
          * New  MEDAL PROVOCATEUR for the best on the frontier of poetry *

* $2,500 GRAND PRIZE (the Eric Hoffer Award for Books)
* Winner of the Montaigne Medal for most thought-provoking books
* Winner of the da Vinci Eye for best covers
* Winner of the First Horizon Award for debut authors
* Winner of the Medal Provocateur for experimental poetry
* Winner and First Runner-Up awarded for every category
* Honorable Mentions for every category
* Individual Awards for Micro, Small, and Academic Presses, as well as Self-Published Books
* Coverage in The US Review of Books ( and on
* Gold Seal Certificates
* Worldwide Exposure

Categories include Art, Poetry, Chapbook, General Fiction, Commercial Fiction, Children, Middle Reader, Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery/Crime, Romance, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Short Story/Anthology, Spiritual Fiction, Culture, Memoir, Business, Reference, Home, Health, Self-Help, Spiritual Nonfiction, Legacy Fiction, Legacy Nonfiction, E-book Fiction, and E-book Nonfiction. (There is a category for every book.)

In this tough economic time, your book is always a great value, and the Eric Hoffer Book Award is the most economical way to achieve publicity and recognition. Read Hoffer Award success stories ( Read previous contest coverage in the US Review of Books ( and view past winners and press releases at

Internet payment for entrance fee accepted. (visit


SUBMISSION GUIDELINES (entry deadline January 21st, 2022):

     AWARDS ARE OPEN to academic, independent, small press, and self-published books that were released or copyrighted in the last 2 years, including unique books with small print runs. (Books over 2 years enter the LEGACY FICTION or LEGACY NONFICTION category.)

     AWARDS/PRIZES: One grand prize will be awarded for the entire contest. In addition, each category will be awarded a winner, runner-up, and multiple honorable mentions. Books must be registered by CATEGORY and then are automatically considered for Individual Press Awards, the Montaigne Medal, the da Vinci Eye, the First Horizon Award, and the Hoffer Grand Prize.

     FOR EACH ENTRY, submit the book, entry form, and registration fee (check, money order, or Internet payment receipt: $60 early registration postmarked by 12/14 ($70 after) to Hopewell Publications, LLC, PO Box 11, Titusville, NJ 08560. Be certain to specify award category and press type. Registration will be confirmed via e-mail. In May, all entrants will be notified of winners. Final submissions must be postmarked by January 21, 2022.

     JUDGES may include authors, editors, agents, publishers, book producers, artists, experienced category readers, and health and business professionals. Note: Contest closed to the staff of Hopewell Publications and previous WNBA winning entries. At the low entrance fee, it is not feasible to provide judge’s critiques for each entry.

ENTRY FORM (submit one entry form per book):
You may also visit and click on the “Nominate” link.

Book Information

Category (see below):

Press Designation (check only one; see description below):
Self-Published __    Micro __    Small __    Academic __

Author Debut?  Yes __  No __ (select Yes if author’s first book)

Contact Information




AWARD CATEGORIES (select one per entry application):

* ART: titles involving the experience, execution, or demonstration of the arts, including art, fine art, graphic art, architecture, performing arts, design, photography, coffee table books, and poetry.
* CHAPBOOK: books 40 pages or less, with typically some form of saddle stitch binding and/or artistic assembly. (Qualifies for special registration fee.)
* CHILDREN: titles for young children, including stories and picture books.
* MIDDLE READER: Titles for pre-teen audience, including chapter books.
* POETRY: titles with poetry or highly stylized prose.
* YOUNG ADULT: titles aimed at the juvenile and teen markets.

* COMMERCIAL: genre specific fiction, including thriller, suspense, religious, romance, and horror.
* GENERAL: non-genre specific fiction, including literary and mainstream.
* HISTORICAL: titles involving historical fiction.
* MYSTERY/CRIME: titles involving mystery, crime, and true crime.
* ROMANCE: titles in the romance genre.
* SCI-FI/FANTASY: titles within science fiction and fantasy.
* SHORT STORY/ANTHOLOGY: titles involving short story collections and anthologies.
* SPIRITUAL: novels involving the religious and spiritual genres.

* BUSINESS: titles with application to today’s business environment and emerging trends, including general business, career, computer, and Internet.
* CULTURE: titles demonstrating the human or world experience, including true story, essay, multicultural, women’s issues, sexuality, gay, lesbian, memoir, aging, travel, sports, true crime, and current events.
* HEALTH: titles promoting physical, mental, and emotional well-being, including psychology, fitness, and sex.
* HOME: titles with practical application to home or home-related issues, including general home, gardening, cooking, parenting, family, interior design, animals, and pets.
* MEMOIR: titles capturing specific personal experience.
* REFERENCE: titles from traditional and emerging reference areas, including but not exclusive to history, psychology, biography, science, philosophy, education, fashion, sports, recreation, training, travel, and how-to.
* SELF-HELP: titles involving traditional and emerging self-help subjects.
* SPIRITUAL: titles involving the mind and spirit, including religion, metaphysical, and mystical.

* FICTION: any fiction titles published in e-book format.
* NONFICTION: any nonfiction titles published in e-book format.

* FICTION: all fiction titles over two years of age.
* NONFICTION: all nonfiction titles over two years of age.
(Unlike major trade organizations, we think good books last more than a single season.)

INDIVIDUAL PRESS AWARDS (select only one; in addition to category):

In addition to the above category awards, books will be singled out for additional awards in the micro press, small press, academic press, as well as self-published arenas. Please check one of the following types on the application.

* SELF-PUBLISHED – books financed by author or not by the publisher (regardless of press size).
* MICRO PRESS – books from a press producing 24 titles or less per year.
* SMALL PRESS – books from a press producing 25 titles or more per year.
* ACADEMIC PRESS – books from a press with an academic or library affiliation.


All registered titles will automatically be considered for the following:
* MONTAIGNE MEDAL – most thought provoking book(s).
* DA VINCI EYE – books with superior cover art.
* FIRST HORIZON AWARD ¬– superior books by debut authors.

If you don’t see your category or cannot determine your press designation, please e-mail us with a description at, and our staff will guide you. A great book will supersede any category designation. Category designations may be reassigned to better suit the submission. Judges may include authors, editors, agents, publishers, book producers, artists, experienced category readers, and health and business professionals. After the contest, books will be donated to libraries, schools, and hospitals where appropriate, which are fine places to promote your book!


Fax: (609) 964-1718
The Eric Hoffer Awards
PO Box 11
Titusville, NJ 08560

Please be patient. We receive many inquiries this time of year. We will help you.

     Every registration for the Eric Hoffer Book Award is treated exactly the same. No registration gets preferential treatment over another or automatic finalist consideration. We are aware that certain book marketers offer preferred registrations under a host of names and at inflated rates as high as %800 or more above our standard registration fees. These marketers will simply register your book like every other book at our standard registration fee, and your book will be considered in the exact same fashion as every other. The Eric Hoffer Book Award never phones or e-mails with aggressive marketing campaigns and promises. These are typically outfits illegally using our trademark without permission and seeking large profits as those mentioned above.
     We want to help you. The Eric Hoffer Book Award is primarily run by volunteers to help readers, writers, and independent publishers. We thought you would be interested in this unique opportunity to promote your book(s). Your e-mail is never sold or transferred. Only three notices are sent annually.
     If you no longer want this annual notification, please use the easy unsubscribe link below. Be certain to use the e-mail address to which this message was sent; otherwise we cannot remove you from our list. Thank you!!!!

The US Review of Books is a proud sponsor of the Eric Hoffer Book Award.
Learn how to sponsor the Hoffer Award at

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20 07 2021

Book Design Awards now open!For more than four decades, PubWest Book Design Awards have been recognizing superior design and outstanding production quality of books throughout North America. Winning an industry book award can be used as an effective marketing tool to boost sales and invigorate publicity. But your books can’t be recognized unless you enter. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Accepting entries: July 1 through December 15, 2021.
  • Eligibility dates: Any book published January 1-December 31, 2021
  • Entries must be received by December 23, 2021 – please note new ship-to address on the form.
  • Fees: $75 per title/category for members; $100 for non-members

Judging will occur in January 2022 and the awards will be announced at the 2022 PubWest conference, February 3-5 in Denver.
Read about this year’s categories here and get ready to enter YOUR titles!

Print Book Sales Soar in Year’s First Half

12 07 2021

How to Land and Perform on TV and Radio Shows

30 06 2021
Brian Jud is the Executive Director of the Association of Publishers for Special Sales, an author, media trainer, and former co-host of the Writer’s RoundTable radio show and host of the television series The Book Authority that aired over 650 shows. It is the longest continuously running cable TV show in Connecticut. He has been the guest on over 1200 television and radio shows, including Today and CNN.In addition, he is the author, narrator, and producer of the media-training video program You’re on The Air. He also wrote and published its companion guides, It’s Show Time and Perpetual Promotion. These describe techniques for authors to get on and perform on television and radio shows.Brian is the CEO of Book Marketing Works, providing media training and marketing consulting for authors and book publishers.Connect with Brian:
REMINDER: This is exclusively an online event via Zoom.
Link for the morning session will be provided in a separate email sent out Friday evening, July 9th, between 8:45 and 9 PM. If you are a current BAIPA member OR you have pre-registered and do not receive that email, please reach out to Info and to Register
BAIPA MEMBERS: ALL CURRENT MEMBERS will receive the Zoom info for the morning session automatically on Friday evening. There is no afternoon workshop in July. AND everyone who registered for the morning session will also get the Zoom information for those events on Friday evening, between 8:30 and 9 PM Pacific.The best way to ensure that you will get your Zoom link in a timely manner is to either be a current member of BAIPA or pre-register by 5 p.m. on Friday, July 9th. Thanks! How Much?$20 for non-members for the morning session. If you are a member of BAIPA, there is no charge for the morning session.
 ATTN: NON-MEMBERS: Membership is currently $10/month, with automatic renewal. You can attend the morning session for a onetime $20 non-member fee OR you can join for only $10/month, and cancel anytime.

Also, there are many other benefits to being a member of BAIPA, including discounted rates for afternoon workshops, access to ALL recordings of previous presentations, and much moreCome join us! THE DAY’S SCHEDULE
9-9:45 am Open Q & A
10-10:45 am Introductions & Announcements
11 am-12:15 pm Program: Amazon Optimization: How to Sell More Books with 7 Tweaks to Your Amazon Listing with Geoff Affleck, #1 bestselling author and award-winning publishing consultant

First Saturdays unless holiday weekendAUGUST 7th: Penny Sansevieri speaking about how to lay the foundation for bigger book sales. There WILL be an afternoon workshop with Penny, where she will do a deep dive into the topics touched on in her morning presentation.SEPTEMBER 11th: Brian O’Leary, Executive Director for BISG (source of BISAC categories and more) on the latest publishing trends. (second Saturday) OCTOBER 2nd: Michele Cobb on getting your titles into librariesStay tuned for more!

For now, our regular monthly meetings are being held via Zoom on the FIRST Saturday of the month, except for holiday weekends, such as Independence Day and Labor Day weekends, when the meeting will be held on the second Saturday. 


23 06 2021
A Special Offer from our Trusted Partner
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11 06 2021
Children’s books—young adult, middle grade, and picture books—have taken over the publishing industry (in a good way). Readers of all ages are devouring the books that used to mainly take up space in libraries, children’s bedroom bookshelves, or school classrooms. Now, children’s books are celebrated for their enchanting prose, their relatable characters, their beautiful illustrations, and their fantastic stories that transcend age categories and genres. The growth of the children’s book sector has been unprecedented this past decade—so how can you make your manuscript stand out in these crowded categories and genres?

In this Writer’s Digest Boot Camp starting June 22, the agents of P.S. Literary Agency will show you how to make your submission stand out. How do you write a children’s book with commercial appeal? How do you decide what category and genre your book belongs in? How do you find agents and publishers to submit your manuscript to? How can you attract both child and adult readers (and buyers)? The agent instructors will answer these questions—and more! They will also critique your work and answer any questions you have about writing and selling books for children.

As a registrant, you’ll have access to four children’s book-focused presentations: Publishing Picture Books; Publishing Middle Grade; Publishing Young Adult; and Writing Query Letters. Then, you’ll have the chance to submit your query letter plus your picture book manuscript or a sample from your middle grade/young adult manuscript’s first chapter for critique. Every critique submission will receive personal feedback from Maria Vicente or Eric Smith or Stephanie Winter. This program children’s book boot camp will cover the following topics:What the difference is between the picture book, middle grade, and young adult categoriesWhat the biggest genres are in picture books, middle grade, and young adult—and how to decide where your manuscript fits inHow to come up with a commercial idea that’s character- and plot-drivenHow to create engaging characters that agents, editors, and readers will loveWhere (and where not) to start your storyHow to inspire kids without writing heavy moralsWhy rhythm, not rhyming, is the key to success in picture booksHow visual thinking will improve your picture book manuscriptWhat to highlight in your pitch to sell your book to agents and publishersHow to avoid the most common mistakes found in submissionsWhat you can learn from your favorite published children’s books
Register NOW! Sells Out Fast!June 22-25, 2021
Maria Vicente-1
Maria Vicente is a literary agent at P.S. Literary, specializing in children’s fiction and nonfiction projects for readers of all ages. As an editorial agent, she provides support to her clients through all stages of the writing and publication process. Her publishing career began as an intern with Bree Ogden at D4EO Literary Agency, and she also interned at P.S. Literary before joining the agency as an associate agent. Maria holds a B.A. in English Literature from Carleton University and a B.Ed. from the University of Western Ontario. She has affinities for literary prose, diverse characters, original storytelling formats, and anything geeky.
Eric Smith-1
Eric Smith is a literary agent at P.S. Literary, with a love for young adult books, sci-fi, fantasy, and non-fiction. He began his publishing career at Quirk Books in Philadelphia, working social media and marketing on numerous books he absolutely adored. Eric completed his BA in English at Kean University, and his MA in English at Arcadia University. A frequent blogger, his ramblings about books appear on Book Riot, Paste Magazine, Barnes & Noble’s blog, and more. As an author, he’s been published by Bloomsbury, Quirk, and Flux.
Stephanie Winter-1
Stephanie Winter is an associate agent at P.S. Literary. She first joined the agency as an intern before becoming the agency’s relations assistant. Stephanie holds a B.A. from the University of Toronto in English Literature and an M.A. in English: Issues in Modern Culture from University College London. She is looking for diverse, inclusive voices in fiction and graphic novels for adults and young readers. Stephanie particularly appreciates strong characters who bend stereotypes and genders, and works that champion the LGBTQ+ community, mental health, and women in STE(A)M. 
Register NOW! Sells Out Fast!June 22-25, 2021

100+ Grammar Rules for Writers

24 05 2021

8 Ways to Add Suspense to Your Novel

12 05 2021

25 Plot Twist Prompts for Writers

10 05 2021
Writers Digest
WD Monday Motivation
25 Plot Twist Prompts for WritersWriting is a tricky craft. Sometimes getting a story started is the hardest part. Other times, it’s figuring out the grand finale. And then, there are all the twists and turns between the beginning and the end. That’s where this post aims to help.(25 ways to start a story.)After all, that’s where a majority of the writing and the reading is done. But most fun stories don’t follow a simple Point A to Point B path even if the plot is as simple as a fellowship of characters delivering a ring from one place to another. In fact, most stories worth reading take more than a few side paths and alleyways on their way to the end.So I’ve collected 25 plot twist ideas and prompts to help writers spark new directions in their stories when they’re feeling stuck. Read the full article…