Selling Your Book in a Recession

By Harriet Hodgson

Last summer I wrote two books, one for adults and one for children. Writing was the easy part. Now I have to find a publisher and, in this economy, it’s up hill all the way. There are barriers everywhere I turn. You may be facing a similar challenge. How can we sell our work in a down economy?

First, I think we have to believe in our work. Second, I think we have to explore every marketing avenue. Third, I think we have to follow publishing rules, such as writing a book proposal. I’ve been an independent journalist for years and know I have to write a five-star proposal. Writing a proposal for my latest book took me a week.

To make the book real, I asked a graphic designer to create the cover. I wrote the “sell copy” for the back cover and obtained a review from a national expert. I put the pages in protective sleeves and fastened them together with the folder brads. My business letter was inserted into the left pocket of the folder. A sample book was placed in the right pocket. I glued the cover of the book to the front of my proposal.

Phone calls are one marketing avenue to explore. Unfortunately, you have to deal with telephone trees and, despite all the buttons you push, never speak to a human being. This has been my experience. “Is your book represented?” an administrative assistant asked.

“No,” I answered. “My former agent is virtually out of business.”

“Get another agent,” he answered glibly.

Getting an agent is as hard as getting published. Still, his comment made me research agents in my state. It was a discouraging task. Time and again, I encountered the words, “Not accepting any new work.” So I moved on to researching national literary agencies and encountered the same response. Instead of accepting new work, many publishers are pushing their existing product lines.

The hours I spent on research weren’t wasted and I discovered the terminology had changed. In the past, the books I write would be classified as self-help. No more. Today, they are called “prescriptive,” which I think is a confusing term. Right now I’m in the process of contacting educational publishers.

Emails are another avenue to pursue. While this is a valid route, email addresses often change. Last night I spent an hour on two emails and sent them. Within seconds, the emails came back because the addresses were no longer valid. However, several publishers have online forms that allow you to submit a query. I submitted two queries and have not heard from either publisher.

Self-publishing is always an option. I’ve used CreateSpace (Amazon’s print-on-demand division) several times and it produces professional books. Better yet, your book is posted on Amazon in a couple of days. While I’ve had the satisfaction of seeing my books in print, I am responsible for marketing. If I choose the print-on-demand route, I will have to invest several thousand dollars in ads.

There is a glimmer of light in the book marketing darkness. One New England publisher rejected my proposal, but is trying to find the email address of the acquisitions editor in another company. This may be just the boost I need. Discouraged as I am, I refuse to give up on myself. Don’t give up on yourself and the books you write. We have to be dedicated, dogged, and continue our marketing efforts.

Copyright 2011 by Harriet Hodgson

Harriet Hodgson has been an independent journalist for 35+ years and is the author of 30 published books. Her 26th book, “Smiling Through Your Tears: Anticipatng Grief,” written with Lois Krahn, MD, is available from Amazon. Centering Corporation has published several of her books, including “Writing to Recover: The Journey from Loss and Grief to a New Life,” a companion journal, “The Spiritual Woman: Quotes to Refresh and Sustain Your Soul,” and “Happy Again! Your New and Meaningful Life After Loss.”

Hodgson has two other new books out, “101 Affirmations to Ease Your Grief Journey,” and “Real Meals on 18 Wheels: A Guide to Healthy Living on the Highway,” Kathryn Clements, RD, c-author. Both books are available from Amazon. Please visit Harriet’s website and learn more about this busy author.

By Harriet Hodgson

Article Source: [] Selling Your Book in a Recession: Try Everything and Don’t Give Up

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