Thursday, July 10, 2008

Don't be alarmed by the sudden drop in Book Sales

This quarter saw a BIG drop in overall sales, which isn't surprising,actually. Laura's book launched on Nov. 1, 7 months ago, and it's had a long run of steady sales, mostly to other Orientation and Mobility and Special Education instructors. Most books sell their copies in the first 3-4 months and then those sales drop precipitously. "Traveling Blind" continues to sell well, but the average sales per month have slowly declined through May and June.

Since I don't have the total number of books sold in the second quarter from Lightning Source yet, I can't say exactly by how much book sales have declined. Lightning Source reports and pays 90 days after the end of that month, so I received my last Quarter One report for the month of March in June. I won't know the exact sales numbers for this Second Quarter until September. My author also doesn't get paid her royalties until 90 days after the close of the quarter, so she receives her royalty check for Quarter One now.

I know our sales have dropped overall though because our direct sales have declined. We sell the most books through events and to our local bookstore. We tapped out our local market by April and Laura hasn't had the time to do many more events. The initial marketing efforts to University Instructors and other Professionals in Laura's field was very helpful, but again, that market has been saturated.

Now it's time to think about who else might benefit from her book and how we let them know it exists.

The biggest problem right now is cash flow, which is seriously hampering my ability to do that second wave of marketing. Between Book Expo expenses, low book sales, and Sales Tax time (I'll write about that in my next post) I don't have any cash to pay for marketing materials. Plus, I have a new book to launch this fall. That means Laura will either need to do more marketing on her own, or I'm going to have to get extremely creative.

Don't be alarmed if your book sales decline. Book sales rise and fall, depending on the market, season, and efforts of the author. Everyone who would want the book has probably bought a copy already, so it's natural to see a decline. The goal is to get those sales back up by finding potential readers who will enjoy the book, but that fact hadn't occurred to them. Yet.

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