Brian Jud: If you don’t go out and do the work, you just might as well stay in bookstores. And I don’t suggest people not sell through bookstores. I just don’t think they should look at that as a sole source of revenue.
Ron Pramschufer: This is Ron Pramschufer, and welcome to Publish Basics Radio, where weekly we try to help you navigate the self-publishing minefield. Brian, last week we had the queen of cold calling on the show. And I sort of think of you as the king of the non-bookstore sales. Fair description?
Brian Jud: I thank you very much.
Ron Pramschufer: Alright now, I gotta ask you one dumb question. What exactly is a non-bookstore sale?
Brian Jud: That’s not a dumb question at all, Ron. The initial reaction is everything outside of a bookstore. But it’s divided into three different segments. And you have opportunities that you could sell to a distributor, and there are returns.
You have sales to corporations, and associations, and schools, and the government. And you have sales to niche markets also. So somewhere between twenty-eight and thirty-two billion dollars last year. So that puts non-bookstore markets at about sixteen to eighteen billion dollars. The idea is to categorize each of these opportunities for each particular title.
Ron Pramschufer: Wow. So why do you think the average—? I mean I deal with a lot of authors? Why do you think the average author is not aware of this market? Everybody wants to go to the bookstore.
Brian Jud: That’s exactly right. When I started out in 1990, I thought that was the only way to sell books. So I started selling them to bookstores, and fought the returns, and the high distribution discounts, and the long payment periods. And finally it hit me, there’s got to be a better way to do it. But too many people just assume that once they get into the bookstores, that their job is over, and once the distribution is set up, that they can sit back and collect royalties. And it’s just not the way it works.
Ron Pramschufer: Okay. Yeah. Because it’s funny. I did a little exercise for myself this afternoon. I did a Google search. Google search under bookstores, you get nine million, eight hundred and twenty thousand listings. Google search under non-bookstores, or non-bookstore booksellers, which seems like a good keyword phrase, four hundred and eighty-one. I mean they’re hidden. I mean for something that’s that big of a market, they’re sort of hidden. So it seems like an easier target. You know I’ve got a book. Where else do you sell it? You sell it in a bookstore.
Brian Jud: Well if you look at the description of flower shops, or camera shops, or car washes, or corporations— There are thirteen million corporations. Look at associations. There are eleven thousand of those. So if you can key in on one particular segment, then you find lots of opportunities. If you have a book on dieting, you may sell it to health food stores, or to doctor’s offices, or to parent’s groups, or to children’s’ associations. So you really need to organize your approach. And then once you do that, then the opportunities multiply enormously.
Ron Pramschufer: Right. It’s fun publishing a book on how to play golf.
Brian Jud: Yep.
Ron Pramschufer: Okay. Chances are my non-bookstore market would include—
Brian Jud: We did a book on business-to-business golfing. And we sold that to the National PGA, the state PGAs, the golf pro shops, to book clubs, golfer book clubs, to magazines, who offered as a premium for when someone signed up for a new subscription to Golf Magazine. They got a free copy of the book. So you really have to organize your marketing approach, and then the opportunities, just again, unfold.
Ron Pramschufer: Can you sell fiction in this manner?
Brian Jud: It’s not nearly as easy, but certainly you can. You can look at it— There are book clubs that sell fiction, obviously. You can go to the Romance Writers Association, the Mystery Writers Association, the Horror Writers Association, particularly if you have a book about writing those genre, you can go to that. But you can sell it to book clubs, to catalogs. A lot of corporations will buy fiction to use as a gift. And they don’t want the top ten fiction that you find on the bestseller list, because everybody has those already. They’re looking for something, particularly, that’s associated with their product.
So when you’re writing a fiction book, you may want to use a brand name, instead of a generic name for a product, and go to that company to see if they’ll buy it.
RP Okay. Now I was reading. You’ve published a book, your most recent book, I believe, called Beyond the Bookstore.
Brian Jud: That’s correct.
Ron Pramschufer: It’s really good. I mean I recommend it to all our listeners here. But in the book you say that publishers should stop selling the books.
Brian Jud: That’s right.
Ron Pramschufer: What do you mean by that?
Brian Jud: People go out and sell books, and you shouldn’t do that. What you need to do, particularly in non-bookstore markets, is— You’re selling the content. You’re selling what the information in your books will do. I ordered a series of job search books. I didn’t sell the books. I sold the information in those, the information on how to get a job. That opened up new opportunities. I had a video program called The Art of Interviewing, based on the content. I set it up in booklets, instead of a book, because colleges prefer to buy it in booklet form. So if you stress the information in your book, the content, and that’s what you want to sell, you’re much more likely to increase your revenue.
Ron Pramschufer: Okay, so but where do I start? See I always have a little bit of trouble. You know I just got all pumped up by Wendy Weiss, and she’s gonna have me picking up the telephone, making cold calls. I don’t know who to call.
Brian Jud: That’s a great question. Break it down in three sections. The first is special distribution. Here you have to go through a distributor to get to the discount stores like Wal-Mart, or Target, or the Costco’s, or the airport stores, or to libraries. So you have to go to a wholesaler or a distributor. This may be AMS, or Anderson, or Baker & Taylor for libraries.
The second segment is what I call commercial sales. That would be corporations, associations, schools, the military, government organizations or even websites that offer services like elitist-gaming.com.
The third would be niche markets. Here they’re the retail shops that are the specific markets that are best for your particular title. These could be the Williams Sonoma for a book on cooking, or glassware. Or a gift shop. Or a book club. Or a catalog. So if you can segment the opportunity in those three particular areas, then it’s much easier to find the potential prospects for your book. So I guess the first step should be to define the content among those three particular segments.
Ron Pramschufer: I used to travel around a lot as a salesman.
Brian Jud: Okay.
Ron Pramschufer: There’s a bookstore in every airport. You mentioned airport stores.
Brian Jud: Right.
Ron Pramschufer: No you go in there. The clerk doesn’t do the buying. Like how do you get past that part? Okay we all know we want to sell in the airport store.
Brian Jud: One, you could come to me.
Ron Pramschufer: Okay.
Brian Jud: Two, you could go to Google, as you did before. You just go to— You go to an airport store, and you see Hudson News, or you see WHSmith, or Paradise Stores.
Ron Pramschufer: And that’s the name that’s on the store in the airport itself?
Brian Jud: Exactly right. That’s correct. So then you do a Google search on that. And that’s going to show the home office. And you contact them. And they’re going to say, “Well here’s my distributor. Go to Bookazine. Or go to Anderson News, or Newsgroup, and contact them. So there are two ways you can approach it Ron. You can go to the buyer of the store and show them the book that’s perfect for the airport stores, and then they’ll ask the distributor to purchase it from you.
Or you go to the distributor first, and have them sell it to the airport stores as a regular bookstore salesperson would. They’ll do the selling for you. So it depends. If you had the time to do the work yourself, you can do it. If you don’t have the time, then you have to get a distributor to do it for you. But then you’re paying your seventy percent again. You’re losing sixty-five to seventy percent to these people.
Ron Pramschufer: Okay.
Brian Jud: You’ll also have returns in that area too.
Ron Pramschufer: ‘Cause a distributor— I’ve got actually them scheduled to all speak on the program here. Because I’m a little confused with distributors too. You know they’ve got a lot of salesman. Do they actually go out and make sales calls? Does anybody sell your book? I mean you know you’re saying sell the content. Wendy, me, or whatever. I’m saying sell the book. All I am is this author with this garage full of books. I want to see ‘em sell.
Brian Jud: There are some distributors at this midpoint. Biblio and PGW. They have the internal salespeople that will actually call on some non-bookstore markets. They’ll call on airport stores. They’ll call on discount stores. They won’t call on the corporations and associations where the large sales could be. But they have a sales force actually calling on some of these non-bookstore markets. So your distributor may also already be doing that for you.
Ron Pramschufer: Okay. Now how ‘bout catalogues? I’ve noticed more and more catalogues. And I get a slew of them every year. More and more of ‘em have like book sections, or books mixed within the catalogue.
Brian Jud: Sure. They do. And particularly between now and the end of the year, we’ll be inundated with catalogues. And if you can get in some of these— There are a couple of ways to get in those, Ron. One as a product that they actually sell.
And the other— If you have a— And these are very specific. There’ll be golf catalogs that sell golf books. Or L.L. Bean, something that has to do with their footwear of outdoor products. You can get a book that goes along with that. But if you have a coffee table book, go to a furniture catalog, and have your book on display when they show the showrooms. They show the furniture all set up. And have your book on the coffee table. Then people will be calling in and ordering it.
So there are two ways to get in. One is as a prop, so to speak. And one, just having them resell your book. And see, there’s so many catalogues. There are tens of thousands of catalogues. A quick search on Google, or go into the catalogue of catalogues, which I think is the Gale Directory; you can come up with catalogs that would be specific for your particular topic. And then once you get in those, the sales can be excellent.
Ron Pramschufer: Okay now how ‘bout—? You’d mentioned the PXs earlier, I believe. You know, the armed forces. Do they buy a lot of books?
Brian Jud: They do. And you have to look at the military as a different kind of a market. You can sell to the PXs. You can sell on shipboard. They don’t carry a lot of books onboard ship. But they have a lot of catalogues onboard ship. And that’s another opportunity for fiction there, particularly, where the people can order, and the books are delivered almost the next day to the ship, the books and other products they sell.
But if you look at the military base, and they have programs. If you have a book on how children can cope with frequent moves, or how the spouse of the service people can move a business from place to place when the service person is transferred— If you have books on those topics, you can sell a lot of books to the military. Because they’re looking— I sold a job search book to the military, Ron. People get out of the service and they need to find out how to get a job, and so they buy one of my job search books.
Ron Pramschufer: Okay and again there, do you go down to the local—? I live pretty close to West Point. Do I go up and knock on the door? Or—?
Brian Jud: You can do that, but go to AAFES online. That’s Army Air Force Exchange Service. They have online services. There are distributors who will go to the exchanges, and go to the bases. There’s another site for the Coast Guard, for the Navy, for the Marines. That would be the best way I would recommend starting out.
Then you can go to The Department of Defense. The Department of Defense runs, I think, about three hundred schools nationwide. But they also buy for the bases too. So find out who the buyer is in The Department of Defense for your particular topic, and then go to them.
Ron Pramschufer: Alright. Now you know I’ve been in this business a lot of years. And you know my head’s sort of spinning, thinking about all these different— You know? What way do I go? I can see sitting and thinking about this all day long, and at the end of the day, you haven’t done nothing. Pretty early on, you were developing something you’d called like a book marketing map.
Brian Jud: Right.
Ron Pramschufer: That idea, was it you—? For a fee of course, you were gonna give me basically a list of leads.
Brian Jud: That’s correct. And I did that. That was a Word document. We would do the search, a custom search on a particular title, and come up with all the potential buyers for that.
Ron Pramschufer: And how did that work out?
Brian Jud: It worked out well. People worked it quickly, because it tended to go out of date fairly soon. But if it wasn’t worked within three or four months, the attrition rate started to drop off. That’s why we went to an electronic web-based version, where we update that regularly, almost constantly. We’re always updating it, and adding new names, new listings, and taking out old listings.
So the relevancy is related directly to the— at least on those old book market maps— the speed with which you actually implemented them. So if you can get the information and jump on it, and make the calls, and make the contacts, it’s a great product.
Ron Pramschufer: Okay. But I say it’s as good as like a Google search, or whatever. I mean you did the searching for people.
Brian Jud: You’ve got what? Nine million hits on bookstores. So what we do is if you put in— Instead of doing a search of businesses, and come up where there are thirteen million businesses— Instead of going through all those, we do that for you. We can cull those out that are particularly appropriate for your particular title, and then provide you with the name of the buyer, the phone number, the email address, the url for that lead. So we do all the searching for you.
Ron Pramschufer: Oh okay. So you still have a service like this?
Brian Jud: We do. It’s an electronic webpage service. Yes. We do it through our ___________. Well we can do it two ways. ________ can do the contacting for you, or I can provide the list to you, and if you want to do the contacting yourself. So it can be done either way.
Ron Pramschufer: Oh that’s pretty neat. So they’re like the Glengarry leads, right? These are all good leads.
Brian Jud: Oh yeah.
Ron Pramschufer: You just give out— I get on the phone. I just took Wendy Weiss’s course last week, or whatever. I get on the phone and make calls, and Joe Smith is the buyer. Joe Smith is really the buyer, and he’s still there.
Brian Jud: That’s correct. And if Joe Smith is gone, we’ll find that information out and make that correction as soon as we can. And we do that in real time. So next time you go to that lead, the change has been made. Yeah, and we can set that up so if you as the author publisher want to do that yourself. We can do it for you. Or if you have a day job, and you don’t have the time to do that, we can help out or do it for you.
Ron Pramschufer: Okay. And is this a very expensive service?
Brian Jud: No. We read your book. Come up with the segments, and then customize a lead prospect list for you. Maybe two thousand to five thousand leads. That’s seventeen hundred and fifty dollars. Then to put those on the online system, it’s three ninety-five per month to have that system operating, and have us update it.
And you can use that to email directly from it. It keeps records, so every time you send out an email, it keeps a record. Next time you go to that prospect, it shows you what you emailed, to whom it was emailed, what the response was, if it was opened, when it was opened. And so you now have that information.
If you make sales calls, telephone calls, it keeps records of that. It’s a contact management system that’s pre-populated with the names of people to call for your particular leads. And that’s three ninety-five a month for as long as you want to use it.
Ron Pramschufer: Now what do you have in place? And again, I deal with a lot of different customers, a lot of different walks of life, a lot of different budgets and everything. When I send you a book, do you look at it and say Ron, you’re wasting your time. I’m not gonna take your seventeen hundred books?
Brian Jud: Oh. We take about one out of ten that are submitted to us.
Ron Pramschufer: Okay. That’s even for the do-it-yourself program?
Brian Jud: Yeah.
Ron Pramschufer: Okay I like that. So I sort of audition to give you money, for lack of a better set of words. I mean—
If you haven’t done it, this is the toughest thing that’s out there right now, are too many people with their hands out.
Brian Jud: If you make five dollars a book, and it’s three ninety-five a month, you have to sell eighty books a month to break even. That’s a thousand books a year. And if you can’t sell eighty books a month, Ron, you probably shouldn’t be out there anyway.
Ron Pramschufer: All these different things that you’ve mentioned during this interview are all things that are not going to happen if you sit back, and you put your book on Amazon, and wait for the world to come to you.
Brian Jud: You’re right. If you don’t go out and do the work, you just might as well stay in bookstores. And I don’t suggest people not sell through bookstores. I just don’t think they should look at that as their sole source of revenue. That could be part of it. Keep your books in bookstores. But look for your revenue, and for your profits in non-bookstore markets.
Ron Pramschufer: Alright. Well I tell you what, Brian, thanks a lot for coming on the show today.
Brian Jud: You’re welcome, Ron. Thanks for having me.
Ron Pramschufer: Okay and I’ll see you soon.
Brian Jud: Thank you.
Ron Pramschufer: For Publishing Basics Radio, this is Ron Pramschufer. See you next week.
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