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Your Local Coffee Shop Is a Great Place to Sell Your Book

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Your Local Coffee Shop Is a Great Place to Sell Your Book

Sometimes a great partnership is right under your nose and can be the perfect way to sell your book. 

Writing and coffee go together, and if you’re an author, you probably have a special table at your favourite coffee shop where you like to write. 

I wrote the lion’s share of my book, The Mentor Within, at the little table on the left just outside the door of my favourite local café.

The waitrons would often ask what I was writing. ‘A book’, I’d say, to their polite interest and slightly raised eyebrows.

I remember the day that I was working through the final edits with a red pen when the café owner, Jack, came to check on me. ‘I’ll bring you the book when it’s done,’ I said. He was keen to see it. 

Four weeks later, I arrived with Jack’s copy hot off the press in hand with its glossy blue and white cover and my author picture on the back.

I gave him his signed copy and thanked him for providing a wonderful space to write and coffee that had fueled my thoughts at that little table on the left. He was thrilled and showed everyone in the café. He took it home with the task of finding the one mention of Café Dolce buried deep in its pages.  

Jack and his wife attended the book launch in a funky downtown club, and the next day offered to follow up with a local launch at his café.

He’d provide the coffee, he said, and his famous home-baked biscuits. I just needed to name the date. The launch would be the start of him selling the book in his café. 

And so began the Great Book Partnership.

The café where I had written so much of the book became one of my most enduring partners.

When Jack sold his café a year or two later, this partnership was amongst those things he handed over to the new owner. He asked Ashbir to continue to support me and the book. He told me he believes the book was also useful to the local community.

While there was no monetary return for the cafe from selling my book (even though I have repeatedly offered) Ashbir confirmed that she would be delighted to keep up the partnership and could see the Triple Win it created.  

Can you make a great partnership with your favourite coffee shop to promote your book? And if so, can you build in some Triple Win thinking? You need:

1. A book launch.

Create a local book launch event, celebrating you as a local author, and bring regulars and new people into the café. The principal of the local school was the speaker at my launch, and a portion of each book sale in the first year was donated to the school. 

2. Free coffee with a book purchase.

At my launch, every person who purchased a book received a free coffee. This was a gift from the café, along with their delicious home-made biscuits.

If they hadn’t offered, I would have covered that cost, and a few times in the past three years I have run a promotion of a free coffee for anyone who buys my book at the café. They track this and bill me later.  

3. Sell your book by placing it on a café shelf.

I wrap each copy of the book on the café shelf to protect it, and I leave a ‘café copy’ out for people to thumb through at their table. Sometimes I pop a post-it note, brochure or book-branded pen into the wrapping.

The café may or may not want commission (my café is generous and don’t) but either way, they get kudos from selling a local author’s book, you get more sales, and the local community has easy access to purchasing your book. 

4. Shared social media.

I give the café publicity through social media, thanking them for supporting the sale of the book, and recommending the café as a place to write.

Whenever possible, I have client meetings in the cafe, sometimes leading to more social media. The café gives me publicity when there are book-related events there. It’s a win-win. 

It is possible to sell your book through shared social media.

5. A Triple Win in action.

The partnership between my coffee shop, my book and my local community is a Triple Win in action. Free coffee, effortless promotion of the book and a little edge for the café that stocks the book.

There are plenty of ways to up the ante on this triple win. One way is to make sure everyone in the café feels loved and thanked.

The other day I presented a signed copy to of the book every person who works at Dolce. They loved the recognition, and they’re more interested in the book and its promotion that before.

I remain grateful for the ongoing support I am getting and pleased that a good number of people I might never have reached have either read the café copy or bought my book there.

It’s easier to turn your coffee and writing sessions into a great book partnership than you think.

I’d love to know if you create a great book partnership and arrange to sell your book though your local café. Let me know in the comments below.

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