Ever dreamed of having your book on a bookshelf in a real bookstore? In order for a bookstore to carry your book, they will be looking for several things including:
- A unique, high-quality, attractive book
- An impressive sales record
- Availability of your book
If you’re using a free service like Amazon’s KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) or other companies like IngramSpark to have your book printed on demand, that’s a cost-effective method for self-publishers. I currently use KDP for ebooks and paperbacks, and IngramSpark for hard cover format. Both KDP and IngramSpark offer expanded distribution which will assist in helping your book reach other retailers like Barnes and Noble and many others. Both Amazon and IngramSpark will provide a list of retailers where you will be available. For example, for my first children’s book, Silly Willy Apple Cake, I used IngramSpark for the hard cover version, and within a couple weeks of it going live, I found my book listed on the Barnes and Noble website. Yay! That was very exciting! However, at the same time, it made me wonder how people will know it’s available there unless I advertise. I’m still learning the ropes of how to spread the word about where my books are available; in the meantime, I’m spreading the word via social media.
What is POD? With POD (Print On Demand), customers buy your book on Amazon and other websites, and then the book is printed on demand (at an Amazon printing facility for example) and shipped directly to the customer. If you need copies of your book for family, friends and author events, you can order author copies at a discount rate.
Once your have copies of your book, how can you get them into bookstores and other shops? Idea: contact local bookstores in your area and ask if they have any type of local author consignment program. I recently signed up for a Local Author Partnership Program at my local bookshop. For a small fee, they will carry up to three of my book titles. For the first month, the books are prominently displayed on a special “Local Authors” bookshelf. Thereafter the books are placed in the normal bookshelf for the corresponding genre.
Even though this may not guarantee that you will sell a million books overnight, it’s just something to try to get your foot in the door at your local bookstore. Hey, that rhymed! And anyone that knows me, knows that I just absolutely love rhyming! Anyway, having your book on consignment at local bookshops is definitely something to pursue. It is a small baby step in the right direction.
What Should You Do Next? Advertise and promote your book to you local community! You can advertise through social media on local Facebook groups, Instagram, etc., and post on your personal website and/or community websites. Consider running an ad or two in your local community newsletter or newspaper. Be a squeaky wheel and create some buzz!
Here’s a picture of three of my book titles displayed in my local bookstore.
Note: If you need help getting your book formatted and self-published, lots of helpful information is coming!
In the meantime, happy writing – and remember, networking is key!