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Secrets to Selling Books by Mail

This is intended for informational purposes only.

Selling books by mail is one of the "ideal" spare-time business ventures that can be operated from your home, and with minimal investment. However, there's a lot you must know about this kind of business; a lot to learn, a lot to understand, and a lot of common sense required.

The first thing you need to know is where to get books - the kind of books - that sell best via mail order. Selecting your source of supply, deciding which type of books you want to sell, and arranging a working relationship with these suppliers is your first step. Be sure that you know which supplier has which books, the quantity discount prices, and the drop-ship requirements. It's best to set up a file for each of your suppliers; keep a copy of each of their latest catalogs, and some sort of record of all dealings you have with them.

Once you're organized with a source of supply, getting started is pretty easy. One way might be to acquire a series of money making reports that run two or three pages in length such as this one - that sell for a couple of dollars each. Then, you run a classified ad in some of the national mail order publications reaching extra-income opportunity seekers. Such an ad might read: FREE REPORT! $50,000 profit each year! Sparetime home-operated business. Details SASE. (your name & address).

Your secret to success in selling books by mail will lie in what you put into all those self-addressed and stamped envelopes you receive in response to your ad.

Of course, the first thing you have to put in those envelopes is the "free report" you promised in your ad. We have a number of reports describing a plan that can make $50,000 a year for an energetic and determined extra-income opportunity seeker, and have used all of them quite successfully in accordance with the plan we're describing to you here. Now then, in addition to the "free report", as promised in your ad - and in order to sell books - you have to include what is known as your "follow-up" package...

Actually, it's quite simple and should be almost automatic. You'll need a full page circular advertising one of the books you're selling. To see, and understand this ingredient, collect the advertising sheets you receive from all the book clubs, relative to their "featured selection" circulars. Remember here that the more original and different from the "other" advertisers you can maker your circulars, the more books you'll end up selling. Still, you may not want to undertake the work or have the extra finances to hire to have "featured selection" advertising circulars made up for you. In that case simply take one of the full page circulars advertising a particular book, sent out to you by one of your suppliers.

Following the successful methods used by all the Book of the Month Clubs, in addition to your full page circular advertising a specific book - a featured selection - you should include a sheet of other titles - alternate selections - for your customers to consider ordering. These are very important things to consider and to think about every time you send out a mail order offer.

Generally, you do not need to include either a separate order form or a self-addressed envelope with your order-solicitation package. However, we would advise you to have your featured selection circular, and your alternate selection list printed on colored paper - say your featured selection circular printed on white paper with red or blue ink, and your alternate selection printed on yellow or canary colored paper with black ink. This tends to give your mailing piece a bit of class, and at the same time tends to stimulate the prospects into buying more than just ordinary white paper with black ink. Give it some thought, try it, check your results and then decide from there.

I've just explained the "nitty gritty" of how to get organized, set yourself up in the book-selling by mail business, and how to operate it profitably. But, unless you have everything pre-planned, your fledgling business may die before you've even scratched the surface of your potential profit picture.

It's necessary that you have a different "featured" selection circular and list of alternate selections to send out, each time you send something out to your prospects or customers. Thus, before you begin, it will pay you to elect about 18 different books to call featured selections or say, "Best Buy Of The Month". Make sure you have a full page circular for each of these books - have a supply of each of them printed and in stock - then either number them or arrange them in the order you want to use them. You should have the same kind of supply, and arrangement for your lists or alternate selections.

With books, it will be necessary to always be on the lookout for new books you can use as featured selections in your customer follow-up program. A supply of 18 will get you started, but as your business grows, you'll find some of your customers ordering every book you offer, and thus, in order to keep them buying from you, you'll have to keep offering new selections to them. With your lists of alternative selections, this is not so important. Actually, you could start out with about a hundred or so reports, and from this list, make up an alternative selection list of about 25 titles for each list. After you've gone through 100 of these reports - 4 different alternative selection lists - you could go back and mix the selections from each list - 6 from list one, 6 from list two and so on...

It's important that you get your customer's order on its way just as quickly after receiving it as possible. When you're having a supplier dropship for you, the best thing is to accumulate all your orders - filling in your dropship order from each day's mail - and then on Saturday of each week, writing your check to each supplier, enclosing the dropship order forms, sealing it and getting it in the mail. At the same time, you should send out your order acknowledgment notes, and follow-up packages on the same day you receive them. It may sound a little complicated, but it really isn't - and if you'll plan your business in detail before you place your first ad, have your follow-up materials printed in advance, and work this plan as I've explained it you should have no trouble at all.

Copyright 2004 by DeAnna Spencer

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