What Marketing Books and Garage Sales Have in Common

I dislike garage sales. Both shopping at them and even more, having them. But we’re moving, and I refuse to haul stuff I don’t use to yet another house. So, much as I avoid them, I organized a neighborhood garage sale for this weekend, figuring it would help my neighbors lighten up on the junk, and draw in more shoppers.

But I was thinking this morning, that the things I don’t like about garage sales are some of the same things that bug me about marketing and selling books.

Here are my points:

  • Pricing – What do you price your stuff/book? Whatever the market will bear, right? But what is that? You don’t know until you try. You put a price on it, and hope people don’t walk away. At least on Amazon, you can research and price match other books in your genre. Your china candlestick holders? Who knows?

  • The price isn’t the price – So you take a guess and put a price on it, but someone comes along and says they’ll give you half that. Can be the same with Amazon’s price match. Sometimes, you give it away for free – so you don’t have to cart it back in the house – or to entice readers to buy more.


  • You build it, and no one comes – you spend 6 months or a year on writing a book, proudly put it up on Amazon, and there it sits. It may not be that no one wants it, but that you didn’t advertise it in your local circular (or buy an ad for your book). This, to me, is the worse case scenario. Not only are you left sitting in a lawn chair for hours, you have to haul all that crap back in (or to the dumpster).


  • It may be junk, but it’s your junkThough I’m not sure anyone would admit to putting up a junky book on purpose, it’s still your hard work. And, like those candlestick holders above, you invested in writing/buying it to begin with. Discounts are sad.


  • How it leaves you feeling – Someone pawing over your former treasures? Or even worse, commenting that they’re not good. Bad reviews are the same. Couldn’t you just walk away quietly? They leave me feeling a little . . . used.

I’m finishing this blog and the garage sale is over. It was successful, but my back is killing me. Next time, I think I’ll just carry the stuff straight to the dumpster.

How do you feel about garage sales?

About marketing your books?


  1. […] infographics how to market a self-published book for the holidays, Laura Drake ruminates over what marketing books and garage sales have in common, and Lisa Tener examines virtual book marketing in a […]

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