Courting Premium Sales

Have you ever dreamed of selling your book to a large corporation? A sale that would register several thousand copies of non-returnable product on the book sale meter? What’s that? You’ve never thought of it you say? Well, never fear! It’s not too late to pursue this avenue, especially if you have a book ripe for a particular market.

Before you embark on this project, it’s important to understand the possibilities out there. Start being aware of incentive items you might see and understand how they are used. Many are offered as consumer gifts or incentives while others are used as training tools or morale boosters for employees.

Some examples of premium sales might be:

Books offered at yearly company sales meetings
Books offered to consumers at a discount (consumers are usually asked to send in product UPC’s to qualify for these specials)
Books offered to new customers at financial institutions
Books offered to new home buyers
Books offered to new magazine subscribers

To determine the market segment you want to go after, study your book first for obvious clues. If you’ve mentioned or recommended companies or products in your book, those will be the first tier you’ll want to go after. Next, think about the message of your book and how it aligns with particular companies within that industry. Company web sites and ads will offer great clues when trying to match a company or organization up with your book.

If you’re going after the magazine subscriber bonus segment, you’ll have a bit more flexibility. Generally, if the book fits the reader demographic and aligns itself with the message of the magazine, it will be considered. For example, you might offer a home organization book to Good Housekeeping or a fitness book to Self or Redbook. Before you approach these magazines, read them for about three months so you get a good sense of what they’re about and who their audience is.

If you’re going after a particular market and are trying to locate companies within that industry, try doing a Boolean search in Google. Your search should look like this: “your industry and companies.” Another resource is This site will link you to companies nationally and internationally within your industry.

Next, don’t overlook companies in your own backyard. Think about industries, companies and organizations in your area that might work well for your book and begin going after them. Many times, local companies will welcome the opportunity to support hometown authors.

Once you’ve put your list together, you’ll want to contact them and pitch them the idea. Or, in some cases, our company will send them the book and proposal before we even make phone contact. Sometimes the companies you’ve targeted will be on the lookout for incentive items, other times this will be a new (and exciting) area for them. If you’re going after employee incentives, it’s interesting to note (and mention in your sales letter) that employee incentives increase individual performance by 27% and team performance by %45 percent.

Be open and creative with your pursuit of premium sales! Many times, companies will want to put their logo on the cover or include an extra page in the book with a letter from the President or CEO. Check with your printer or publisher on whether this is possible for you and what the additional costs will be before you start pursuing the premium sales arena.

So, how long does this process take? We’ve seen premium sales turn around in a week, while others take a year or more to complete. Oh, and the most important part… how many books can you plan to sell? Anywhere from one thousand to several thousand depending on the deal and the company. We’ve even got a deal in the works for a half a million copies of one book. Discounts and negotiations vary. Often, we’ll negotiate volume discounts of 50% to 70% on bulk orders. Again, make sure you’ve got these figures ready when you pick up the phone to make your pitch.

With the right book, premium sales are not only a great way to gain exposure of your book. But in the end, they make great “cents.”

Penny C. Sansevieri
The Cliffhanger was published in June of 2000. After a strategic marketing campaign it quickly climbed
the ranks at to the #1 best selling book in San Diego. Her most recent book: No More Rejections. Get Published Today! was released in July of 2002 to rave reviews. Penny is a book marketing and media relations specialist. She also coaches authors on projects, manuscripts and marketing plans and instructs a variety of coursing on publishing and promotion. To learn more about her books or her promotional services, you can visit her web site at To subscribe to her free ezine, send a blank email to:
Copyright  2004 Penny C. Sansevieri

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