Monday, May 10, 2010

Shoe Leather Marketing

I took my first book Local Vegetarian Cooking (2004, LOC Press) to every place I could think of--yoga studios, tea shops, and even doctors' offices. Many locally-owned bookstores eagerly bought my book.

These independent booksellers are like small-scale sustainable farmers and when they support your book, it's good to return the support by purchasing books there. Lots of people in Edmonds buy books at the Edmonds Bookshop. I'll be at Edmonds Bookshop, serving up recipe samples and talking about local farms on July 31.
I loved that PCC Markets carried my first book. Many people interested in local farms and farming congregate there, and part of the profits of my book were donated to PCC Farmland Trust. Every time I delivered books, I talked to the people who worked there. I taught cooking classes at a number of the stores and I got to know the HABA buyers by name.

This past weekend when I phoned the Issaquah store and spoke to someone I'd known years ago from the Kirkland store. He remembered me and thanked me for telling him about my new book. I can't say enough about knowing the people who sell my book, I'm grateful to all of them.
Another place that surprised me with the sales of my first cookbook was Bastry Health Clinic. They have a wonderful gift store on Stone Way. I love the way this clinic is so supportive of local producers. I hope my friend Kathy Gehrt contacts them soon because she's got a perfect gift book.
I've been doing a lot this reconnecting. I'm calling it "shoe leather marketing," what a concept actually talking to people selling my book. Past experience tells me it's good to look for places off the beaten path of most published cookbooks. So for the life of your book, make friends with the people selling it.

It's not sexy or Oprah, but it works. So definitely try some shoe leather marketing and give an elevator pitch to booksellers on the virtues of your book in person.

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