Marketing Past Gatekeepers

If you think about it, there is only one thing stopping you from selling to readers…GATEKEEPERS! They are everywhere.

Want to market/sell books in schools? You need to get by the gatekeepers made up of the school board, principals, and teachers.

Want to market/sell your books in stores? You need to get by the product purchasing gatekeepers.

Want to market/sell your books in libraries? You need to get by the gatekeeper manager.

Want to market/sell your books to Fortune 500 companies? You need to get by the gatekeeper receptionist.

Want to market/sell your books with a literary agent or traditional publisher? You need to get by the flunky gatekeeper that makes eight dollars an hour reading submissions.

I could keep going, but you get the point. I have some ideas to get by all those gatekeepers, but what worked for me, may not work for you. Nevertheless, here is what I did…

Sell Books in Schools

Actually, I did several things to sell my children’s books, middle age books, and teen books. Here is the list:

~ Handed out books to students and donated some books to the school libraries. The students complained the books were not AR approved so they could do book reports on them. Enough students complained that a librarian approved my books, which are now available to 30,000 students in the county.

~ I wrote a book with the help of a third grade after care class. We sold 940 books the first day it was published and we were invited to a bookstore where we sold 100 books in 45 minutes.

~ I invited teen students to audition to become characters in my latest teen novel. (More on this idea later.)

~ I used my four children to help sell books in the schools.

Bonus Idea: Schools are hurting for money and more open to advertising. You can pay to have your bookmarks sent home with the report cards. I haven’t tried this yet, but it seems like a reasonable risk, depending on what the school would charge you.

Sell Book in Stores

~ I hired my own sales rep, in addition to what the publisher is doing for me. (You can read about this in my blog, Book Sales Idea: Sales Rep.

~ Check out these websites and phone line: , , Target Vendor Hotline (612) 696-7500.

Sell Books in Libraries

~ Write letters to libraries and send with a copy of your book, asking to be on their catalogue list. If they accept you, thousands of people will see your book and visit your website.

~ If you come up with a fundraising idea where you can sell books, most libraries will go along. Just like schools, they need the money.

Sell Books to Fortune 500 Companies

~ Become a freelance content writer for companies. Send out your bio to a hundred companies and you should get at least twenty to respond. Write content for their blogs, website, newsletters, brochures, etc… Once you are in the door, the opportunities are endless. (Plus, you are being paid by them!)

~ Offer to write a book about the company, discussing their success plan and unique ideas to provide a terrific product/service for their customers. If the company has 10,000 employees and you receive a dollar per book, that is a nice payday.

Sell Books to Literary Agents & Traditional Publishers

~ These are the toughest gatekeepers in the world and there are blogs written by agents and editors to explain what they are looking for. However, I do have one idea that worked…

My manager held a Human Clue Game in a store and invited a local publisher to attend the event. Not only did some of their authors show up, but so did their marketing specialist and the owner of the publishing house. My manager positioned my table right next to the owner. Also, it was upstairs, so we had the only two tables on the second floor. In-between customers stopping by our tables, I chatted with the owner. This lasted for almost three hours. That was plenty of time to pitch my ideas.

What’s the moral of that story? Think Untraditional.

I hope that you find ways to break down the gatekeepers that are standing in-between you and your millions of potential readers. Combine several ideas in this blog and personalize it to your author career…

Ron Knight

Every author is promoted in our UP Authors Erotic/Romance Contest!

Untraditional Publishing Definition: “An author teaming up with a non-publishing company to publish books.”

If you are a Facebook Fan of UP Authors, then you will not miss any of our helpful blogs.

Ron Knight

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  1. Ron,
    I had to laugh at the recollection of my very first booksigning at a B&N bookstore back in Grand Forks ND. It was their big grand opening. There were a dozen regional authors there for the event. They did no advertising that mentioned that we would be there, and they stuck us way back in the corner by the bathrooms. I was very upset by their placement of our tables–until I realized how many people have to go potty when they are in a bookstore, especially if it’s one that has an adjoining coffee shop!

  2. Ron,

    Thanks for the ideas. I am an sel-published author and have sold over 1800 books through, and myself at events such as farmer’s market, advertising in public areas around town, and all my social media twitter, facebook, website, book trailer, u-tube, Linked In and more.

    My book is about PTSD called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Surviving the Flood by Leslie Raddatz. I published it July 6, 2012 and am now trying to publish it traditionally so we will see. I have donated to our library and to peers all over the US that cannot afford my book, University of Oshkosh, WI, NAMI and much more.

    Check out my website and blog


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