What The Heck’s A ‘Sell Sheet’?
While traditional publishing seems to be lagging in the 20th century, we can still learn some powerful techniques from the those guys who have been doing book marketing for a couple of centuries.
One of the things they do is produce a datasheet for every book they publish, which they often call a ‘sell sheet’.
They equip their sales force with these, which they then pass on to book stores to try to get them to stock those books. Publishers also send sell sheets to reporters and media outlets, often with a press release and author information.
It’s an essential part of their book promotion toolkit.
Not Just For Publishers
And a book sell sheet can also be part of the independent author’s toolkit.
It’s quick and easy to produce and it can help you form relationships and, ultimately, sell books and promote your business.
Sell sheets range in style from simple A4 datasheets to colorful mini posters.
Creating your own is simple enough using word processing or any desk top publishing or word processing software (Word, Pages, OpenOffice, Publisher, etc.).
And, there are even templates on sites like Canva that you can adapt.
However you decide to create it, there are some essentials you don’t want to miss off:
- Book title
- Book cover
- Book blurb
- Author name
- Available from…
- Formats available
- Author photo (although strongly recommended unless remaining incognito is part of your brand!)
- Book cover – not essential but highly recommended
- Review excerpts – optional but these give a real flavour of what people thought, and if you have some high profile or well-known reviewers, it adds credibility if you can mention them.
- Publisher information – not essential but recommended
- ISBN, category, and technical specs such as page count, size, etc. – not essential but recommended
- Price – optional because it varies in different countries. You could add a US price and a note such as “International prices vary”.
- For more information… — optional but this can be used as a ‘call-to-action’, an invitation to visit the author or book website, and this will (hopefully) include an invitation to sign up for your email list.
- Marketing campaigns. Traditional publishers often add marketing campaign information, such as planned advertising, video marketing, book tours, social media plans, etc. What you add will depend on your audience. If you are seeking out book distributors or contacting bookshops, it’s good to let them know you have marketing campaigns coming up, but if you’re looking for joint ventures, or to guest posts on blogs, then it might be more useful to include information about conversions, and what marketing
And then what?
You can upload your book’s sell sheet to your website or blog, or you can include it in a media pack which you can also make available on your website on a ‘Press Room’ or ‘Media Enquiries’ page.
And be proactive — send it to reporters, bloggers, book stores, and potential reviewers.
It provides potential buyers or readers with information about your book in an attractive, easy-to-read format, it makes you look very professional, and it makes your book easy to find and recognise.
And don’t forget to tweet the links out – a lot of reporters hang out on Twitter because of its fast-paced, newsy environment.
Your content is available long after you tweet it, so reporters could find it next time they have a story to write that’s related to your book’s content.
Your Sell Sheet Template
We created a simple example of a sell sheet — and you can even download it for yourself.
This sell sheet template was made by using a large text box and adding shapes inside it.
It’s easy enough to do — and you can click here to claim this exact ‘Sell Sheet’ template for yourself.
Don’t worry too much about the format, it’s the content that really matters.
This post was written by Michelle Campbell-Scott, author of ‘Make Your Book Work Harder: How to Promote Your Book on Multiple Platforms‘.
Do you know anyone who might benefit from this? Feel free to share with them by email or on social media…