tinder matchmaking book selling header

Publishing 101: How Selling Books is A LOT Like Making a Tinder Profile

Hello Swooners!

It’s time for another edition of Publishing 101! This time we’re going to cover how the book actually gets in the stores or online so it can get into your hands.

I sell books into the Merchandise Channel, which we like to say includes anywhere where you can buy a book and also laundry detergent. In channels like that, your buyer might not have any idea about current books or authors (GASP!) and might not be a reader themselves (DOUBLE GASP!).

When that’s the case, you have to position the book the way you would position yourself if you were entering the cesspool that is dating apps:

1.) YOUR PROFILE PIC

You need something that demands attention or incites an emotion or drums up excitement. Something that shows some personality! Just like you’re trying to capture your intended audience—be it that cute film buff or aloof sporty type, book jackets are trying to do the same thing.

2.) YOUR BIO

You have around 160 characters to convey what you’re all about. THAT’S INSANE. Books have Key Notes or Elevator Pitches, tiny blurbs that cut right to core and grabs the attention of your buyer and creates a feeling of familiarity.

3.) YOU MADE IT TO THE MESSAGING STAGE

Ok, your match is interested. Now it’s time to dig a little deeper and get to know each other. In dating, this is where you would talk about your favorite movies or food or whether it’s rude to only talk to dogs on the street and not their owners. In books, this is where you give a little more about the plot, the media excitement, and publicity plans to get the buyer to realize what an asset this book would be.

4.) YOU’VE GOT A GOOD FLOW GOING

We sell books by the season a long time before they actually pub so the buy confirmation could potentially not come for a couple of months, during that time we update them on exciting publicity and marketing to keep them interested. This is the stage where you guys are talking regularly and trading memes and fire selfies.

5.) YOU GOT A DATE

Of course you did! You’re amazing! After some back and forth, you guys are finally going out. This is akin to our books getting put on promotions at stores, there are set dates and times and parameters and we want everything to go smoothly.

6.) DATE NIGHT

It’s here. You’re looking great, you’re excited, you know everything is going to work out and be perfect. Or maybe it won’t live up to your expectations, and that’s fine! You’ll try again. Sometimes these promos are smash successes and sometimes they don’t work out quite as planned but we’ll never stop pushing our books that we love and trying to get them to you, the consumer. Just like you shouldn’t stop putting yourself out there! The world needs your shine!

Comment below with any way you think BUYING books is like dating!

Author spotlight

Liz O.

Brooklyn resident, sarcasm connoisseur, pop culture junkie, food obsessed. I am on the editorial board for Swoon, binge reading manuscripts ...

See More