Some time ago we deciced to print a couple hundred copies of what we call The Authenticity Diary. It only exists in Slovak although it was originally written in English and we do have a French translation. But to be honest, selling this book has never really been our priority… And there are just two people who do anything to sell this book, that’s me and Zuzana (see picture), the other two members of our little managing board are ‘sleeping’, meaning they almost don’t do anything any more, one because he is in Belgium, the other one because he simply has other priorities.
After doing very little to promote and sell the book we have sold well over 100 copies, we have less than 50 left. I must also add that ten books were STOLEN. Yup, at one point we asked a student to try and sell ten copies and he simply dissapeared along with the books… Odd, I know.
Here’s what we have learned:
- Facebook (love it or leave it) ads work. When we promote the book through Facebook we sell.
- The price doesn’t affect sales in my opinion. Somebody who wants it will pay 15 euro or 8 euro, doesn’t matter. I even think that ultimately it’s better to hike the price, it shows you believe in the product.
- When you are at a market potential buyers constantly ask the same questions. So you learn a lot about how to present it or how to modify the next version.
- Don’t expect too much from friends, just because they are your friends they are not going to jump up and become your instant promo team, they have other worries and concerns of their own.
- Just because it’s a good idea doesn’t mean people will buy it. I think an automatic vacuumer is an absolutely wonderful idea yet I will never ever EVER buy one.
- People who think too long before buying it will not buy it. People either buy fast or not at all.
- You have to believe in the quality of your product with religious fervor and convey the message that the product will change the customer’s life for the better. Check out Jordan Belfort’s (yes, that’s the Wolf of Wallstreet) straight line selling technique online.
- It’s cheap to publish a book yourself
- You have to have your book in regular book shops. We will never try to sell it ourselves anymore, outside of the regular book circuit. If you sell it yourself the profit margin is much bigger, but it’s hard and very tedious work, because you have to say the same thing to each client and hear the same questions constantly. In the time I have spent selling the book I could have written two new books.
- Some people still look down on self-published books, but if your product appeals people quickly overlook the fact that you did it all by yourself
- If you really enjoy selling then there really is no reason not to go for self-publishing. It does take a lot of time…
- Since the book is in Slovak we never offered it through websites such as Amazon. It’s probably possible to sell large numbers of books through such sites, but again, it will take a lot of work. And if you have a great product you will still sell more through the regular circuit.
- If you have a good product you will sell, but you will sell more through the regular circuit
- You get a lot of feedback so you are ready to make a better product
- We will definitely go through the regular circuit with our next book, we simply don’t have the time nor the motivation to put in all the energy needed to sell a book on our own. And we have a good product, when we are at a market, we sell. We got tons of amazing reactions. People seem to like it better than I like it myself, I mostly see the flaws of the product now. So at markets we sell, no sweat, but to be at a market costs us two to three days, time we would rather invest in something else. I would hire two pretty students to sell the book, but I don’t have any trust left after one student absconded with ten copies.
- You have to know your target audience. More than 80 percent of our buyers are women. On Facebook we don’t bother to show the ad to men.
- Am really glad we did it, we have learned really a lot about book publishing, met hundreds of people who either bought the book or gave us feedback.
- Am too sarcastic and still have too little self-love to admit I have created something good, so am not the person who should be selling the book. Luckily Zuzana loves it and sells it with the most genuine enthusiasm.
- We have also discovered the neo-hippie (minus the free love of course, this is a Catholic nation) community of Slovakia, you know, the crowd that buys hand-made soap and keeps pastel colored hipster coffee bars alive. Incredibly sweet people with very innocent pass-times who stimulate the local feel good economy. And yes, somehow I have managed to create a product for a world I don’t really belong to. I’m for free love, but I can do without the hand-made soup and knitted hats. And if I have a beard it’s just because am lazy and it hides my acne scars and makes me look almost like an adult. My next book will center around self-depreciating humor and not rosy colored self-development.
Seriously though, it’s a good product, if you use it consistently for three months it’s definitely going to make you realize a couple of very useful things, and it did help to cure my own severe bouts of depression.
The biggest compliment for me is that my most impressive student, a manager at Pilsner, uses it together with his wife.
More info in Slovak here.
You can like the Facebook page of our publishing house Donkichod here.