Ernie Zelinski: Creative Book Marketing Strategies
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Below are a few of self-publisher Ernie Zelinski’s favorite ways to sell his books. Ernie is the author of Career Success Without a Real Job: The Career Book for People Too Smart to Work in Corporations.


The Art of Seeing Double or Better in BusinessWhat Should You Do with Defective Books?

Here’s Ernie’s solution:

He had defective copies of his book The Art of Seeing Double or Better in Business cut in half. Then he sent the top half or bottom half with a copy of a letter to major corporations. If corporations wanted the book, they had to buy a minimum of 10 copies.

As he notes, “This idea ended up making me an additional $10,000 to $15,000 in revenues from book sales and seminars as well as getting me more valuable publicity for the book.”


How to Retire Happy, Wild, and FreePersistence Pays in Getting Great Publicity

It took Ernie 10 years, but he finally got AARP (American Association of Retired People) to mention How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free in their September 2014 issue of The Bulletin. What made this difficult and special in the end is that the AARP is a competitor of his since they publish many retirement books in conjunction with well-known publishers such as Wiley.

Check out AARP’s 6 Retirement Books You Should Read Now: http://www.aarp.org/work/retirement-planning/info-2014/retirement-books-photo.html#slide8

This mention in the AARP Bulletin generated between 10,000 and 15,000 extra sales of the print edition of How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free with an extra profit of between $50,000 and $75,000 to Ernie.


Sell at Conferences and Conventions

Here’s just one story from Ernie’s many creative selling adventures:

A few years ago there was a major national Human Resources Conference happening in my home town of Edmonton, Alberta. I wasn’t registered for the conference but I headed down to the convention center anyway. I parked my car right in front. I couldn’t attend any of the sessions because I wasn’t a registered delegate and didn’t have a name tag. Nevertheless, I was able to enter the trade area where many businesses had set up displays.

In my attaché case, I had 4 copies of my recently released How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free. I spent the next 3 hours talking to delegates and at some point telling them about my new book. It didn’t take long before the first 4 copies were sold at $15 each. Then I headed back to the car to fill up my attaché case. Over the course of 3 hours, I sold around 20 copies of How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free.

I walked away with about $260 in profits, given that the book cost me less than $2 a copy to print. Not bad while having a great time talking to people. Of course, by selling the book to human resource professionals, I have no way of knowing how many more copies were sold after that due to the world-of-mouth that these human professionals may have created for the book.


Sell More Books When You Speak

Career Success Without a Real Job

Here’s how Ernie sells more of his books whenever he speaks about retirement:

When an organization contacts me about the possibility of making a speech or doing a seminar about retirement, I ask them how many people will be attending. If they say 50, I make them an offer that if they buy a minimum of 100 copies of How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free for $15 each, I will to do the presentation for free. They have to pay for the travel, lodging, book delivery charges, and meal expenses, however.

Note that I entice them into buying a copy of the book for all the 50 seminar attendees as well as 50 extra that they will give away to other people (more promotion for me). I end up making a profit of $13.50 per book ($1,350 total) since my print costs are $1.50 a copy. And I end up getting my book out to 100 more people, who create more word-of-mouth for it.


More Book Marketing Tips

At high-class restaurants, Ernie has gone up to famous people and just given them a copy of his books. As he notes, “I did this two years ago in Henderson, Nevada when I encountered Wayne Newton at a restaurant.”


Kevin O'Leary and Ernie ZelinskiIf a celebrity is doing a book signing at a bookstore, Ernie will buy his book and give him a signed copy of one of his books.

As he notes, “I did this with Leslie Nielsen and Kevin O’Leary when they were doing book signings in Vancouver and with Jack Canfield in Edmonton. I get photos taken of the celebrity and me exchanging books. Of course, I never know when one of these celebrities is going to mention my book in a speech or article.”


When someone wants to order 20 copies of How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free, Ernie gives them a certain price for the 20 copies. But then he gives them a much better price for 50 copies. Most often they opt for the 50 copies even though they were looking for only 20 copies.


Ernie creates tools or principles within his books that are found nowhere else. When other people talk about these tools in their seminars, they always mention my books. Two such principles are: The EZ Rule of Life and The Get-a-Life-Tree.


And here is Ernie’s motto to motivate him to be more creative in his marketing:

Content Is King

For more great book marketing tips from Ernie Zelinski, see Ernie Zelinski on Being an Amazon Bestseller.

About John Kremer

John Kremer is author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Books, the Relationships Matter Marketing program, and many other books and reports on book marketing, Internet marketing, social media, and book publicity. — .


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