Alternative Book Marketing Methods Series: Non-Profit Marketing

Last time, we talked about partnering with a local bookstore to offer a Groupon. This week, we’re adding another notch to your “alternative marketing” belt — non-profit marketing.

What do you mean non-profit marketing? I’m a career author, and I’m in this to make a sustainable income! This may be true, but you can still benefit from marketing your book in a way that is not profit-driven. What if you could use your book to change the world? Okay, thinking more reasonably – what if you could make a difference in a few people’s lives? What if you sold more books while you were doing it?

Before we get into the details, I have a confession. This technique isn’t actually anything new. Companies have been doing this for years, decades, and possibly even centuries. The good news is, though, that this type of marketing is not “the norm” for book authors. So, by using this to market your book, you may be a few steps ahead of the curve.

Imagine for a moment that you are back in high school (stay with me here). You want to go to college, but you don’t think you can afford it. What do you do? A smart student will turn to scouring all available resources for scholarships, grants, and possibly loans. While searching for scholarships, you find one that requires you to read a book and write a brief essay on your opinion of the book and how you can use the advice provided in that book to improve your life. You decide to enter, so you buy the book and enter. A few months later you find out you’ve won $1,000 to help you with school and related expenses. Wouldn’t that leave a mark on your life? That extra $1,000 can help you pay for books, food, etc.

Now step back into your author shoes — how amazing it is that you sold a book to this student, and they were rewarded with a $1,000 scholarship. But I don’t have $1,000 for a scholarship! That’s fine. A good way to finance this is to take a portion from your book sales. Say for instance, you make $2.50 for every book sold. If you set aside $0.50 for every person who buys your book during the scholarship and you get 200 sales during that time, you can offer a reward as small as $100. Of course, if you can take more from your sales, you can invest even more into the scholarship.

This will not only build buzz about your book, but it will also allow you to make a difference, and you may even be able to deduct the scholarship monies when tax time comes (be sure to ask a tax professional about this).

More good news is that offering a scholarship is not the only way to sell books using non-profit marketing. There are many other creative spins you can take on this, and you can find even more ideas by looking around your community and seeing what people need and figuring out how you can help fulfill that need while also selling books.

Have you ever used non-profit marketing to sell books? What results have you seen from implementing such strategies?

Happy Marketing!