by Amy Collins — author, publishing industry expert and founder of New Shelves
I have been a publishing and book distribution professional for more than twenty years. For all those years, I have been asked variations of one question more than any other:
- How can I get my books into bookstores?
- How can I get my books into airport stores?
- How can I get my books into big box stores?
- How can I get my books into libraries?
What I also often hear from authors is “My book would be PERFECT for airports/bookstores/Costco/Walmart/libraries!”
While this may be true, I hate telling authors what I am about to tell you: getting your books from your own hands onto the shelves of bookstores, big box retailers and libraries is a huge task. On top of that, the way onto those shelves can seem like the publishing industry’s best kept secret.
HOW do publishers get their books in front of these buyers and HOW do those books actually GET to the stores? What is the process? How much does it cost? What can you expect to spend? How much can I expect to make for all this effort? These are some of the questions I’ll be answering during my webinar presentation.
Bookstores, airports, Costco, supermarkets and libraries have very limited shelf space. The competition is fierce and unfairly weighted towards large publishers that have already proven themselves to these book buyers. Selling your books through these channels is a tough job…BUT IT IS POSSIBLE! Those authors who succeed have taken the time to learn and understand how the process works, what is expected of them and (most importantly) how to be persistent.
The key is understanding exactly how book buyers at these channels make purchasing decisions. Book buyers have bosses, too, and they are judged by how well they select books that will make money per shelf spot (or in the case of libraries lead to more check outs per shelf spot). Authors need to prove that their books can help these buyers achieve their goals.
Once you’ve figured out how the book buyers make purchasing decisions, the next step is to understand their ordering requirements. These book buyers will want to place orders for your books from very specific wholesalers and service providers. The processes and requirements of each wholesaler can vary wildly. Before you approach the buying offices of any retailer, it is imperative that you understand exactly how book sales and distribution work. Learning precisely what these buyers want, how they work and what they will require is a VITAL if you are to be successful in selling your books through these channels.
If you are truly interested in earning your way onto the physical bookshelves, then there are specific steps you need to take. During my webinar presentation, I’ll discuss:
- How stores and libraries buy books
- What these buyers are looking for
- How to present your book to these buyers
- How to find and approach the wholesalers necessary for success
- What it will cost and how much you can expect to make
All too often, the facts about print distribution are hidden from authors. I’ve made it my mission to change that, and share what I have learned in my twenty plus years in publishing and book distribution.
Listen to my “Lunch & Learn” webinar replay, “The Ins & outs of Print Distribution for Self Published Authors.”