So how do I sell my cookbooks during a pandemic? Well this is one blog I didn’t think I’d ever write but drawing on many years of experience from customers all over the nation, we have some great ideas to get your cookbooks selling and delivered safely.
First start planning your cookbook sales today! You can never start too soon for the planning of your cookbook sales, even if you don’t have a retail price point yet.
- Start a waiting list. Make sure your waiting list has space for the person’s name, how many books, and the best way to contact them when the books arrive.
- Let everyone know. Get the word out on social media that you are creating a cookbook. Tell people why you are creating a cookbook. If it’s for a fundraiser talk about the project it’s raising money for. If it’s a book to promote healthier eating, talk about how the recipes in your book are going to make healthy eating great. Whatever the reason for your book let everyone know about it.
- Make sure people can contact you. Set up a dedicated email or Facebook page for your cookbook. Making sure people can contact you with questions and orders will make it easier. If you don’t have access to internet, then provide a phone number and/or address people can contact.
Next prepare for the selling of your cookbook. During a pandemic, handling cash can make some people nervous so plan ahead for how you will collect money. Here are ideas some of our customers have used.
- Have a specific checking account so people can write checks. Make sure you are clear to them who the check should be made out to and then as soon as you know your retail price you can have people start mailing checks in.
- Check out sources like Venmo, PayPal and Square. See if any of them are possibilities for accepting payment electronically. Make sure to read the fine print to see what fees apply and make sure you price your book accordingly.
- If people want to pay by cash have them plan ahead. Ask for exact cash or ask how they are paying so you can have exact change ready. If you are fundraising and not having to charge tax for your book consider making it an even $10, $15, or $20.
Finally – Delivery of the books may seem like a daunting challenge but with a box of plastic zipper bags and you are ready to go.
- Plan ahead. Put people’s names and contact info along with how many books they want and if they are paid for on slips of paper or index cards that can be dropped in the bag along with the number of books to be delivered. Have people plan a route where they can swing by and drop off books to houses in their area.
- Take a copy of your cookbook to your local post office. Ask them for shipping options to determine what will work best for you and allow you to package/label cookbooks at home for easy mailing. You may consider calling your post office and asking for assistance and see if there is a best time to stop by and the person you should ask for.
- Shipping department. If your book is for a group or organization, check with other members of your group to see if someone has a business with a shipping department. Ask them the best way to package books to ship from their location and what the pricing would be. Drop off books packaged and labeled for them to ship. Ask them how they would like to keep track of shipping costs and what method you should use for reimbursement.
With a little planning and some thought you can get cookbooks out to the masses even during a shut down.
Written by: Lea Ann Huegel, April 2020