Some news: I recently became an affiliate of Jason’s online cookbook publishing course for bloggers, content creators, and chefs. If you decide to take his course (which I recommend — his content compliments mine), enter the code WWFF for 30 percent off! I will earn a small commission. Now, here’s his guest post about how to maximize cookbook sales.
A guest post by Jason Logsdon
Your cookbook just came out. Congratulations! But your work isn’t done yet, you still need to sell it! These keys to maximize cookbook sales have helped me move more than 60,000 copies of the 15 books I’ve written and published.
Many of the sales were for my self published books, where the challenge of marketing and promotion was all on my shoulders.
Here are my five keys to maximize cookbook sales:
1. Mention your book everywhere.
To sell lots of copies of your book, you need public exposure. And whether that exposure is a blog, podcast, tv show, social media accounts, or speaking engagements, you must constantly mention your book.
Authors tend to fall in the trap of assuming that “everyone knows I have a book.” After all, you toiled away on it for a year or longer and it’s now a part of your identity. However, most people don’t realize you have a book, even after you tell them…and tell them…and tell them.
Once when I had a book out, I mentioned it in every blog post I wrote, every podcast interview I gave, at least once a week on social media, and in every newsletter I sent out. And I STILL had people who had been following me for years who didn’t know.
You don’t need to be in your fans’ faces. But you do need to continually drop a mention of your new cookbook in all of your communication. These mentions result in small sales that will continue leading to more success.
2. Find and Cultivate Your Super Fans
In today’s noisy world, word of mouth is still effective. But when it comes to promoting your book, not all readers are created equal.
Finding and cultivating those readers who develop a strong connection with you and your content is key. These super fans are the ones who read everything you write, comment on social media and email you. They are the ones who will promote your book for you and share it with everyone they know.
I cultivate my relationships with super fans by making sure I respond to everything they write about me. I also comment on and share the content they post online, as well as call them out by name on my podcast and in my articles. Finally, I always send them review copies of my books. Not only does that make them feel like part of the launch process and my team, but it also leads to many great reviews right away.
Find these fans, make them feel included, and they will be your best salespeople!
3. Look for a company to partner with.
Partner with a company that is big in your niche. An example is the sous vide book I was publishing through Sterling Epicure. Through a deal with Instant Brands, Sterling rebranded my book as The Instant Pot Ultimate Sous Vide Cookbook. It became the official sous vide cookbook for the Instant Pot brand.
This partnership created brand recognition for my book that lead directly to sales. Instant Pot also bought copies in bulk to bring to trade shows to give away.
I partnered with Modernist Pantry, a seller of kitchen ingredients and supplies, to sell my self-published cookbook, Modernist Cooking Made Easy: Getting Started. We created a custom version that only Modernist Pantry can sell. It carries the company’s branding. They sell it as part of their “Getting started” kit. Over the last five years, Modernist Pantry has sold several thousand copies of my book.
4. Create wholesaling deals.
The most lucrative deals I’ve found are with companies that distribute other products in my niche. These are equipment manufacturers, creators of ingredients, or general distributors. These types of companies look for books to round out their merchandise. If your book is an authority on a product they sell, then it’s a natural fit for them to promote it.
Self publishers can sell directly to companies at wholesale rates. If you are working with a publisher, you can put them in touch with each other.
I sell my book, The Whipping Siphon, through Creamright, the largest distributor of whipping siphons in North America. Sous Vide Supreme sold my book Sous Vide Grilling on its website. Cedarlane Culinary, a general distributor of modernist equipment, sold my book Modernist Cooking Made Easy: Party Foods.
5. Stick with what makes you comfortable.
This is not an exhaustive list or “the only way” to maximize cookbook sales. It’s just what worked for me. And part of the reason it worked is because I enjoy these specific techniques.
Some authors use speaking engagements to sell large quantities of books. Others email copies to magazines and writers, hoping for reviews. And some hit the streets, looking for small wholesale or consignment deals at local stores. But none of those sound appealing to me.
Find what works for you and what you like to do. Selling books is an ongoing process. Make sure the sales methods you pick are those you can keep up for the long haul.
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Jason Logsdon is a best selling author, public speaker and passionate home cook who explores everything from sous vide and whipping siphons to blow torches, foams, spheres and infusions. He has published 15 cookbooks which have sold more than 60,000 copies. He runs AmazingFoodMadeEasy.com, one of the largest sous vide and modernist cooking websites. His website MakeThatBacon.com is dedicated to helping food bloggers succeed. Jason is the creator of the video course Self Publishing 101: How to Publish a Printed Book on Amazon Using KDP and runs a free weekly newsletter.
Photo by Mathieu Turle on unsplash.com.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.