Author sell sheets: What are they?
Author sell sheets were traditionally printed out and sent to bookstores to encourage them to stock the books, and to reviewers and magazines to encourage them to review or write articles about the book. They are a more visually pleasing and eye catching way of presenting the information that one hopes will catch a reader’s attention.
Here are three I had done for my books that are published by S&H Publishing because the publisher thought it was a good idea and wanted them for their marketing efforts. The real sheets are PDFs with clickable buttons, but I turned them into Jpeg’s so you can see what they look like. These were done for me by Rose of Velvet Wings Media. If I find them useful I’ll get some done for my AIA Publishing books as well.
Here are the actual files if you want to take a look and try out the clickable buttons:
Do we need them?
If you hire a publicist who works in the traditional way, then they will probably want them, but they are not strictly necessary to the indie author’s marketing tools unless you’re trying to get your book stocked by your local book stores. If you’re wanting to do that, then these are really going to help, and you should add the distributor’s name to the info as well. However, even if you’re not going to bother with the local bookstores, they can still be useful. Imagine putting the Jpeg version into the body of an email to catch a reviewer’s attention. I haven’t tried that yet, but it would work if someone sent one to me. You can make them downloadable from your book info page on your website, or even just use the Jpeg version as the book information page. The links don’t work on a Jpeg though, only on the PDF, so you’d have to put the buy links in underneath.
What should go on them?
- Publication Date
- Available from – this can be stores or distributors depending on how you’re planning to use the sell sheet, to sell to individuals or to bookstores.
- Review snippets
A word of warning
Only make sell sheets if you can do so in a professional way. If they look professional, they will have a positive impact; if they look unprofessional, they will have a negative impact, so it’s better not to do them at all. If you search for ‘Free sell sheet templates’ you’ll find some, and they’re better than not using something like that, but unless you’re a whiz with Photoshop, you’re not likely to get the kind of textured backgrounds you see on the sell sheets above. But however you do it, just make sure that a graphic designer would approve of the finished product or you may be doing your product more harm than good.
Have you used sell sheets? How? Have you found them useful?