Keystroke Medium

Ep 2.42 - The Art of Selling Paperbacks with Scott Bartlett

June 5, 2017

Blog Post:

By Lauren Moore

 No matter where you are in your indie author career, tonight’s topic is tangibly relevant: selling copies--in particular, print books. So whether you are a self-published veteran selling copies by the thousands, a would-be author still planning out your writing career, or somewhere in between, this episode is for you.

Tonight’s guest is Scott Bartlett, a Sci-Fi indie author who writes with humor, wit, and pizzazz. And by “pizzazz,” we mean galactic battles, epic heroes, ancient prophecies, compelling characters, and loads of cliffhangers. What’s not to love? His The Ixan Prophesies and Unable to Die series have sold stacks of copies, making him a beloved author for his many fans and on the Sci-Fi Bridge author community.  But he didn’t start out selling hundreds of copies. He started out selling them one by one at a farmer’s market. Curious about how he got to where he is now and what practical marketing lessons he learned along the way?

 Take a listen to tonight’s show.


  • Terrye Toombs, KSM fan, released her first book today, The Reluctant Emissary
  • Scott Moon Updates:
    • Working on super-secret project a lot this week
    • Also working on the KSM Awards Show
    • Scott Bartlett: Free book giveaway on Sci-Fi Bridge
    • Josh Hayes:
      • Started Rhett Bruno’s book, The Circuit
      • Joined the bomb squad
      • Working on his super-secret project
      • The superhero anthology he’s a part of with Steve Beaulieu is coming out for preorder


Scott Bartlett Bio:

  • Has been writing since 15 yrs. old
  • Has written dystopian cyberpunk and dystopian satire. Writes a lot of military sci-fi and space opera.
  • First started selling his medieval comedy novel, Royal Flush, through in-person, local print book sales.
  • Get the entire Unable to Die series for free by checking out Scott Bartlett's Readers' Group! Just copy/paste this website into your address bar:

 Selling Paperbacks:

  • Selling in-person and local

    • Used Lightning Source originally but now uses IngramSpark to print books.
    • If you can, order your print books in bulk (IngramSpark starts at 150 copies and goes up from there) to get lower prices.
    • Start with a publishing fund to finance bulk prices and then replenish it with your sales.
    • Scott saved up his money as much to finance his authorial career.
    • Started out selling at his local farmer’s market and spread out to other farmer’s markets, Christmas craft fairs, and every Sci-Fi convention around
    • Research local events to see what events are available, which books they might be interested in, and about how many books might be sold there
    • Figure out how to effectively pitch your books to particular audiences
    • The power of a great opening line! It becomes part of your pitch when you’re selling your book in person. Example: Taking Stock: “Sam met me in the middle of committing suicide.”
    • Have an opening line for talking to people one-on-one. Even something as simple as, “Hey, are you a book reader?” or “Do you read Sci-Fi?”--something to start the conversation.
    • Realize it is okay to sell yourself and your books. People expect that and indeed are looking for it. You believe in your book; you wrote it because you think it IS fun and/or valuable. You are helping people by connecting them with your book.
    • “You become the blurb.” - KSM fan, Kalene Williams
    • Have your one-sentence tagline and/or elevator pitch (based on the plot/characters) ready, BUT be ready to improvise.
    • Selling in person is really selling a “memory, an experience, a meaningful connection between book lovers” - Scott Bartlett
    • Selling Non-fiction in person:
      • Pick your venue carefully so it matches your topic
  • Marketing Online

    • Know your genre
    • Get a great cover that fits in with the top books in your genre
    • You need a blurb and tagline that sing
    • Your book description needs to hit your genre keywords, and have them as close to the top of the description as possible--while being true to your book and creating intrigue.
    • Example: Sci-Fi Keywords--“Galaxy,” “aliens,” “allies,” “ship”
    • Figure out what it is about particular genres that people love and then make sure your book has that--and that you hit on it in your book description, blurb, etc.


Eager for more tips on selling books in person? You came to the right man--because he wrote the book on the subject. You can find Scott on his website,, on Sci-Fi Bridge, and on Amazon.

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