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I have written and self-published two children's books both of which have an instructional theme (Wyatt The Wonder Dog Learns About Good Manners and Wyatt Learns To Be Organized).  I thought I would see about getting them included in some catalogs which market to school counselors and educators.  I contacted them by email and two of them have asked me to send books as samples.  One of them asked me to include information on  "pricing, discounts, minimum purchase, payment terms, etc."  These are questions I hadn't even considered.  Does anyone know much about this?  Any suggestions would be helpful!!

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Hey Lynne:

 

This is pretty easy. Don't be flustered. Congrats on finishing two books. They want what they call a "sell sheet." You need to make one for each title (book). It's basically a one-page summary with a full color photo of your book cover, with a 250-500 word summary of the book - you'll probably have a shorter summary for a children's book. The summary is what hooks them into buying it so make it good! The book cover usually covers 1/4 the upper page and the summary on the other 1/4 upper page. On the bottom half, put in a table format the cover price (retail), the wholesale (education) price (if you want to discount it for them - and I recommend you do - I usually give a 10-15% reduction off retail) and the minimum order quantity is how many you'll sell at that price - some authors require bulk orders of 10 or more, etc. This is a double-edged sword because if you allow them to buy just one, that's often all you'll sell, but if you require too high a minimum, you may not get the order. In terms of discounts, I usually discount based on volume alone. So I might give an additional 2% discount for 11-25 books, 5% for 25-99 and 10% for 100 or more. I often customize my pricing based on who I send the sell sheet too. If you do this, make real sure you know what pricing you sent to who! Payment term means how you expect them to pay you. Most schools take 60-90 days to pay so if you make your terms 60 days, you'll eventually get paid! Most won't do business with you if you expect payment sooner than that, but there are exceptions - check the school districts website to see if they tell you what they expect - look under RFP (request for proposal) or vendor/supplier tabs. Also it's customary to tell them how they can pay - cash, PayPal, check, invoice, purchase order or credit card (if you are set up to do that). I try to avoid purchase orders because they usually take longer to pay. You also want to put a place for them to fill in shipping address and billing address, plus WHO will pay shipping and how much it is. I offer free shipping for orders over 25 books and ship by either UPS or Post Office only. If they are located near you, you can also offer delivery. Make sure you put your company name, address (physical address, not a P. O. Box) and your phone and fax and email, plus who they can call if there are questions. Other things you can include are your author's biography, any reviews you have that other authors in your genre or newspapers/magazines/ezines have given you. And remember to write everything for the market you are trying to sell to - mention how schools can use the books to teach, etc. And remember to make your sell sheet as attractive as you possibly can... it's a marketing piece! And write a nice introduction letter too if you are snail mailing it to them. The letter just needs to mention your enclosed sell sheet and your desire to do business with them. If you're really confident about selling to them, send a copy of the book too. I pitch my book and have them contact me for a copy of the book.

Good luck!

Great info, Kathryn. Thanks for sharing!

Hi Kathryn, I know this is an old post, but I also have a children's book I want to sell to catalogs.  My questions is: Do I need to keep an inventory on hand to sell to catalogs?  My book, Scribble Scrabble Writing Journal for Kids, is sold at my website through Createspace with a debit/credit card so payment would be required before the books can be shipped, and, from what you describe, that would be a problem for catalog companies, correct?

 

A great way to find answers to these questions is to get the catalog and figure out what others are doing.  That's helped me a lot in the past in a different, but similar market.

WOW!  Kathryn, you are a wealth of information.  I'm so glad I asked!  thanks

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