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Selling Books Out of the Trunk of Your Car

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger on Mar 22, 2010 12:01:22 PM

Before the age of e-commerce, selling books out of the trunk of a car was the typical storyline for most self-published books. An author would self-publish his great American novel, buy a garage full of books, fill the trunk of his car with boxes of books, and head out across the heartland to sell copies to anyone who came within earshot of his Cutlass Supreme. A publishing legend was born.


Like anything, it worked with varying degrees of success. The outcome of the strategy wasn't tied to the quality of the book. It was tied to the salesmanship of the author. It was a bold move that required equal parts confidence and humility. Those who found that balance sold books. Those who didn't probably didn't stick with the strategy for very long because of their inability to sell books.


Now the question is, "Does the 'selling books out of the trunk of your car' approach have a place in this world of online retailers, blogs, Web sites and social media?" I think it does. Granted it is not a route that everyone should pursue. But in order to succeed in business, you have to play to your strengths. If you are good with people, if you have that balance between confidence and humility, if you have the funds to make a cross-country trek, if you have a car with a sizeable trunk, why not try it?


Of course, you do want to sprinkle a little Web 2.0 into your strategy by documenting your "trunk tour" on your blog. Shoot video for your YouTube channel. Let your Facebook friends know what city you'll be cruising through next. Alert the local media in that area to where you'll be, and when, through Twitter. Crank up the promotional machine to spotlight the "yesteryear" feel of your book tour.


Finally, don't do it haphazardly. Plan your "trunk tour" as carefully as you can. Create a budget and stick to it. Contact the area chamber of commerce in each town you plan to visit, and let them know what you are planning on doing. They can provide you with contacts to help make sure you are not ruffling any feathers, and you are keeping within local ordinances. Be smart. Fill your trunk with books. And have a blast.



Richard is an employee of CreateSpace and an award-winning author.

3,879 Views Tags: books, authors, marketing, self-publishing, sales, publishing

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