What’s a Sell Sheet and why do you need one?
One of the ways people get to know authors is through our resumes. When dealing with large book shows, retailers and library lists authors are fortunate that we can develop resumes for our books, as well.
Just like a ‘help wanted’ posting can generate a great deal of incoming correspondence there are times that bookstore owners and other large buyers receive a major inflow of catalogs and other information about new releases. A good sell sheet is a whole lot easier to scan through than an entire catalog and, as with any sales effort, our job is to make the buyer’s job as easy and hassle-free as possible.
The author sell sheet is an important tool in your book sales arsenal. Sometimes called a one-sheet or a sales flier, it contains — on a single page — all a bookseller (or buyer) needs to know about your book.
Of course that’s something that could come in handy for individual readers, too. You might consider creating two versions: one for booksellers that has a broad, industry focus, and another for consumers that has a slightly different approach for individual readers at book festivals, book clubs and other general uses.
In any case, this is a place to put your best foot forward. Sometimes authors are reluctant to engage in their own marketing so we will remind you to include a clear call to action.
The purpose of either version of your sell sheet is to encourage the reader to order the book.
What information helps book buyers to make a decision?
Your sell Sheet Should include…
- Overview: book title, subtitle, author and/or other contributor, logline, and a brief description (no more than 150 words)
- High resolution book cover image
- Book identification information: ISBN, category, formats available with price information for each, trim size and page count of print version, publication date, rights available, distributor or direct sales information
- Reviews: one or two short quotations from your best reviews
- Comparables: any competitive information to help show where your book fits into the market (particularly helpful for bookstore managers and agents)
- Author bio and high resolution headshot: Include credentials, awards or other information that supports your work and/or subject area expertise
- Marketing: Events, tours or advertising campaigns from which a bookseller could benefit
- Publisher, logo and contact information
What if your Sell Sheet works?
What if they like it? Of course they’re going to like it — so getting ready for when your sell sheet draws some interest is your next step.
You may be contacted and asked for additional information. For this happy occasion, you should be ready with a packet of more detailed information including:
- A more detailed author bio
- Audience profile: Who is your ideal reader? Include gender, age, geography, prevalence, etc. Whatever you do, please do not pitch your book as one “for everybody.” That most often leads to “for nobody.”
- Excerpts from the book that are representative of its style and content
- Reviews: 5 or 6 of your best listed on a single page
- Book press release or announcement
- Media clips, such as author interviews and event coverage
- Links to your website and social media profiles
The Amelia Indie Authors private library contains some member Sell Sheet samples that you may use to help you create your own. If you haven’t yet joined us and you use MS Word, look in the templates as a starting place. Photoshop also has them. There is a crisp and clean resume template designed by MOO as well as several in Pages for Mac. Any one of these could be adapted easily.
If you’d like help, our co-op encourages members to provide critique to one another. And, if you’re still reluctant? Amelia Indie Authors can recommend a trusted provider create one for you.
Go ahead. Tell the little birdie — you know you want to.
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