QVC Bookselling

What is your strategy to sell your books on QVC? If you don’t have one, you’re in good company with many other authors.

The New York Times had a fascinating short article titled “Selling Books on TV Without Oprah” by Edward Watt. Here’s a couple of sentences, “Any author who can sell 15,000 books in eight minutes is going to attract a little attention in the publishing business. Jeanne Bice, a clothing entrepreneur, did just that last month, according to her publisher, when she introduced her forthcoming book during a segment on QVC, the television shopping channel. Then she sold roughly 9,000 and 10,000 more books this month during two more sessions on the channel, for a total of 34,534 books ordered in less than half an hour of accumulated air time.” OK, I’ll admit for a second or two, I had some book envy. Then I read the article with a bit more care. This first-time author has been selling clothing exclusively through QVC for ten years (a $50 million-a-year business). The audience knows this author and when she had a book, it makes perfect sense for her books to sell rapidly on the channel.

Here’s why I’m writing about this article. Jeanne Bice was an innovative person when the time came to sell her new book.  It’s just the type of author that any publisher wants (and needs). She’s not simply handing her manuscript to the publisher and expecting them to do all of the marketing. Instead, she rolled up her sleeves and tackled her most familiar audience, QVC—and tackled it with gusto. You only have eight minutes to sell a product on a QVC segment. It is a strategy that will work for some books.

I personally have no background on selling through QVC—but I know how to learn about it. Beyond the Bookstore by Brian Jud includes a chapter on selling through these home shopping networks with the specific contact information and information to start you on this process.

As I write about in Book Proposals That Sell, publishers are looking for authors with innovative strategies and plans to sell books. These plans have to be reasonable in terms of actual marketing dollars spent. Many authors have no concept of the investment return (potential sales) or the actual cost for space advertising in magazines. Just do your own investigation and you will be shocked at the advertising rates. Instead you need to creatively think about some inexpensive yet effective methods to be proactive in the process of selling your books. It will endear you to the publisher and sell more books and give your proposal something extra which few others in the editor’s stack will contain. 

4 Responses to “QVC Bookselling”

  1. Gina Holmes Says:

    Hey Terry. I remember you saying a while back that when an author submits a proposal, editors want to see what kind of marketing the author has in mind.

    I know Carmen Leal has a book out on marketing and I’ve got Guerilla marketing, anything else you can recommend for authors to get some ideas from?

  2. Terry Whalin Says:


    The two books you mentioned are OK–and I’ve read them. There are two other books that I highly recommend in this area: Publicize Your Book by Jacqueline Deval and/or The Saavy Author’s Guide to Book Publicity by Lissa Warren. The difference is their perspective. Both of these authors have worked for years inside publishing houses–and know what works and what doesn’t work–and write about how authors can come alongside the overworked publicity team and be a support–not a pain or high maintenance. The suggestions in these books are completely do-able from any author with reasonable financial investments. Terry The Writing Life

  3. Gina Holmes Says:

    Thanks Terry! I wrote those names down for when I get a contract (on the inside cover of Guerilla Marketing, though that seems wrong some how šŸ™‚

    Thanks again.

  4. Terry Whalin Says:

    Gina, I’m always glad to help. What authors and would-be authors need to understand is these books help before you get a contract and when you are writing your proposal (whether nonfiction or fiction). The marketing elements in your materials to an editor need to stand-out from the crowd. You want to show the editor that you “get it” then this editor will want to champion your work inside the publishing house. Without it, your submission (even if it comes from a literary agent) just looks like one more manuscript. Add that “extra” factor with these books and your increased understanding. Terry

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