It doesn't matter if the business is small or enormous.
It took 4 years to determine which way we make our best sales. I still believe our selection of titles (including my own, yeahh..) are good; and there are avenues we have never yet explored (due to, mainly, financial constraints).
Here are my findings, and I'm sure others have completely different experiences.
Our best sales have been, so far, in descending order:
- Violin Tunes for Beginners, mainly to a distribution agent, and
directly to music shops; of course, I have a captive market there as
every new student also buys one. But the real sales have been to the
distribution agent who sold to music shops all over and to CNA.
- Solar Wind 1. Mostly direct sales, and a few to bookshops.
- Solar Wind 2. Again mostly direct sales, plus a few to bookshops.
- Almost Dead in Suburbia. Direct sales mostly, again. Some internet sales.
- Everything else.
- Overall primary market, direct
sales to friends, contacts and people we know. These would be in part
beneficiaries of gift copies if some huge publisher were to publish the
book instead of a little one-girl-show.
- Secondary market, music shops and CNA via agent. Music sells better than novels.
- Hardly any sales online.
- Sales to book clubs: None - but that might be because the focus has not been on them.
- Word-of-mouth, alerting friends and relatives by email and phone call.
- Some response: P'kaboo Website, Lulu, Amazon
- Little to no response: Reviews in local paper, magazines.
- Little to no response: Community events with music.
- Little to no response: Blogging. Very time-consuming and a nice hobby in itself but can cost one the very time it takes to generate new stories and marketing ideas.
- Haven't tried: Youtube uploads; radio ads; TV ads, full-colour ads in mags and newspapers. Which of these will work, if any? They all cost money to generate. So each of them will be a bit of a gamble, and to gamble too low means to lose because it will not generate enough interest for any return.
- Another angle: Targeting interest groups. Not yet tried.
Well, there we are. Most important commodity right now: My time. Where do I apply it best? Because it is alas, as usual, dreadfully limited.