Idea File:
Local Businesses Boost Book Sales

July 2004
by Ann Mullen

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I took an unorthodox approach to marketing What You See, my fictional tale set in Stanardsville, a small town nestled in the mountains of Virginia. I decided not to go with the major book chains at first because of the cost to get there, and because of the small revenue that would be generated from the sales. Since I was not ready to mass market, I arranged to focus on tourists.

Stanardsville and the surrounding area thrive on the tourist trade. Massanutten and Wintergreen Ski resorts, Skyline Drive, and the Blue Ridge Parkway draw thousands to our area on a regular basis, and so do the University of Virginia and their sports events. I set up a five-book display in many of the bed-and-breakfast inns and lodges, an antique shop, a pottery shop, a floral shop, and a company that represents Virginia businesses.

These places continually sell one to five books per week. But they generate even more sales because people who bought the book from them spread the word about it. I average one book-signing a month that is directly related to sales at nearby nonbook outlets. My book sells for $24.95, and so far I have sold almost 500 copies through these shops and the signings generated from sales there.

Ann Mullen

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