Marketing vs. Selling Your Book to LIbraries

by Nancy Humphreys on October 10, 2011

This week I have a cross-promotional sale with a partner who has a book out about selling books to schools and libraries. My book is about marketing books to libraries, including school libraries. Our two books are selling as a package until October 15th.

So what is the difference between marketing and selling? And what exactly is cross-promotion?

Marketing vs. Selling

In a nutshell selling is the goal; marketing is the process.

Marketing comes before selling. Marketing includes preparing your book for the audience you want to sell it to. It includes devising strategies for reaching your audience and getting their attention. And it includes ways to announce and advertise your new book.

Selling is the final step in marketing. You’ve got a marketing plan. You’ve identified your audiences(s). You’ve chosen your format(s) for your book. And now you are looking for how to get your book actually bought.

We all know the old methods of selling door-to-door and direct mail. Has it ever occurred to you that you can still use direct mail or direct email to reach librarians? You can, and you should. Librarians are very busy people and a lot of information about books crosses their desks.

A carefully crafted message to a precisely chosen group of librarians who are most likely to buy your book, can result in more sales of your book. So can a technique like giving book talks or making personal appearances at libraries. It amazes me how many authors and publishers I talk to who have never thought of using these approaches.


Cross-promotion is a selling technique where partners with complementary products get together and sell a package with both of their products.

Partners in cross-promotions can take an extra step and develop a marketing plan which contains multiple strategies for cross-selling their products. For example, my partner and I sponsored a Twitter contest with free prizes that included our books. Now we have a two-week-only package-sale of our books. We plan to do more promotions in the future.

Are you a writer, an author, or someone who works with authors? Think about the idea of cross-promoting your book when it’s done. Do you know of anyone who has a book that might complement yours? Having someone else to sell your book can be a real morale booster. Selling books is a tough process.

Need ideas about how to find another author? Note’s feature that suggests titles of other books a book-browser on Amazon might want to look at too. Or, if you’re in a group for authors online, keep an eye out for posts by other authors who have books that might pair nicely with yours. Then get in touch with them.

Need more sales of your book?

Check out my newest cross-promotion. Here’s a brief summary. There’s more information about these books and their authors at

Our one-time-only $21.95 two-book-special-offer package for a total savings of $12.95 includes:

Class Act: Sell More Books Through School and Library Author Appearances, by Barbara Techel, instant-download PDF, 118 pages with index (2011), regular price $9.95,


Marketing Your Book to Libraries, An Insider’s Guide for Authors, by Nancy K. Humphreys, instant-download PDF, 153 pages with index (2011), introductory price $24.95.

Sale ends October 15, 2011!
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Marketing Your Book to Libraries Marketing Your Books to Libraries: An Insider's Guide for Authors by former librarian Nancy K. Humphreys includes: 
  • How to tell what kind of library to target
  • Types of librarians and books they order
  • Strategies to get past the "gatekeepers" who influence librarians
  • Right ways to approach librarians most likely to order your book

Learn more »

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