grayscale photo of man standing while writing in book

The Sell Sheet: Why You Need a Resume for Your Book

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

assorted-title novel book lot

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.


What’s a Sell Sheet and why do you need one? Click To Tweet

A good sell sheet is a whole lot easier to scan through than an entire catalog and our job is to make the buyer’s job as easy and hassle-free as possible. Click To Tweet

Sometimes authors are reluctant to engage in their own marketing so we will remind you to include a clear call to action. Click To Tweet

Words We Love – #wordnerdwednesday

Many authors find it easy to become overwhelmed, to feel as if they’re behind in their goals. The words just don’t come. Or, if they do, they are clunky and pathetic.

This feeling of heaviness can slow us up even further — so much so that we can forget why we do what we do. We forget there are readers “out there, somewhere” waiting for that next release. We forget that any pandemic-related heaviness will eventually pass as well.

Sometimes we even forget the love of words that launched us as readers and, not long after, as writers.

In an effort to lighten the mood and to celebrate those wonderful building bloccks that allow us to do what we do, we started to celebrate word nerd Wednesdays. Members of our team create delightful graphics, celebrating the words we love. They are light and social and (we hope) lots of fun.

If you’re on social media, you can find our offerings on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram where you can “like, comment, or suggest new words for consideration. In fact, if you have any favorites you’d like us to add to the queue, please add them in the comments below.


You Can’t Launch in a Pandemic: 2 Disagree

textCan you still launch a book during a pandemic?

We’ve got two accomplished indie authors who show it can be done.

After spending all the time, effort, and money required to publish a book, no author wants to release it to the public when it’s likely to land with a silent thud. Promoting a book during a pandemic might seem like a non-starter in terms of drawing an audience. But that doesn’t have to be true if you’re smart about your timing, and use your contacts and technology to your advantage.

Two authors associated with Amelia Indie Authors launched their books successfully during 2020. Co-op member Esther Jantzen released her children’s book, and Donna Overly, a client, released the first book in her second ‘Knot’ series. Both found their efforts worthwhile, and shared their experiences with us.

Contacts from Around the World

Esther’s book, WALK: Jamie Bacon’s Secret Mission on the Camino de Santiago, is a travel adventure mystery written for grades 5 – 9. It’s a tale about the missteps, adventures, and heroism of an 11-year-old American boy who walks the 500-mile Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain with his home-schooling family.

Her book launch relied largely on Zoom — the platform many of us have come to know well over the past several months. She wisely had two people helping her with content and technology, and invited her contacts from all over the world, resulting in 54 participants.

I had a very good Mistress of CeremoniesLinda Heiderera long-time friend who loves to be on stage, teach and communicate. We have Camino connections; her enthusiasm and respect for the book really carried the day,” Esther said. “Linda insisted on a script for the launch—which at first I resisted, but in the end, I found it really helped the flow and allowed me to say what I wanted to say. We went through three or four drafts to get it to the place where it was presentable.”

Tech Support to the Rescue

She also hired a technical helper so that she and Linda could focus on content. “It’s wonderful to have someone admit people to the Zoom space, conduct the poll, spotlight other speakers, call on participants with raised hands, put up visuals, and make sure there’s a recording. That was invaluable!

Esther thought about how to keep the event engaging and involve participants. This included having her grandkids do the readings—appropriate since it is a children’s bookand a Two Truths and a Lie’ Q&A game which people responded to via Zoom’s polling feature. This broke up the speaker parts while transferring information about her book, and it gave participants something to do.

I actually hired a very, very expensive coach because I really had no idea how to do a launch. She’s the one who came up with the idea of having my grandchildren read, and helped me figure out the things I needed to communicate up front. The game was my idea, and if there’d been more time, it would have been fun to play more.

Esther provided all participants with a graphic poster to share, and asked them to support her efforts by promoting the book to their own contacts.

Drama, Suspense, Romance

Donna’s book, The Shackle, continues the King family saga from her first trilogy, and is also a stand-alone novel mixing the elements of drama, suspense, and romance against a backdrop of human trafficking.

She struggled with the timing of her book launch, thinking that if she delayed her launch until the pandemic was under control via a vaccine, she’d be able to benefit from direct sales during a book tour.

red and white UNKs restaurantWithout knowing how long the pandemic would last and knowing that I have goal to release one book a year, I honored my timeline. Studies show that people are reading more with the pandemic and the stay-at-home, isolation, quarantine, and social distancing.

By proceeding with her launch plans, she could make her book available online to those readers much sooner than if she had decided to wait.

Donna also used technology to advantage during a limited launch event at a local bookstore. Only 20 people could attend, wearing masks and social distancing, but the event was live-streamed on Facebook for virtual participants, and was recorded for later use in promotions.

Goodreads Give-away

Meanwhile, she continued her list of traditional marketing activities, which included her website, blog posts, e-mail newsletters, and Facebook posts. “I launched a give-away through GoodReads, promoting it 10 days ahead. I chose the dates and the number of copies I would be giving away. There were three winners. I got 800 people to sign up, so that is marketing to 800 folks,” Donna said.

She also attempted a book signing at a local bookstore on a main thoroughfare. “I feel that the mask limits interaction with people on the street, making it harder to initiate a conversation. I did this one day and sold no books, but I will be doing it again.

More people have bought my book online since they realized that I could not get to them on a tour. I still hope to be able to tour in Pennsylvania and Texas with my book in 2021. Maybe waiting until the fall I will have another book to market as well.”

Lessons from Our Pandemic Launchers

And so, what are the lessons we learned from these wise authors?

1. Life goes on, and readers continue to read. Stick to your plans, but be flexible and adjust them according to current situations.
2. Be prepared. Both Esther and Donna did extensive planning and preparation before launching their book.
3. Don’t give up. Even if your book sales aren’t what you hoped for, keep reaching out to your audience, and get to work on the next book.