A GUIDE ON HOW TO GET YOUR BOOKS IN BOOKSHOPS AND LIBRARIES: With the upsurge of ebook retailing and the increase in the number of books released every year, you may find it a little nonsensical to self publish your book and sell in book shops. The book selling market is a very tight market. With books being promoted here and there, a good marketing plan and a little creativity will go a long way to determine if your book survives or it is run over completely.
With online ebook retailing sites like kindle and Amazon, everyone is now moving to self publishing and electronic distribution. The problem is that your book is not getting the publicity you know it deserves with the inflax of writers in this popular system. That us where you should go back to where it all began. The library and a bookstore. Though your profit margin would be very small and your books can be returned if they don’t sell, There are a lot of marketing and publicity opportunities involved in this system.
1. Your book would be available to everyone that enters the shop. Even if they do not know your book exists, with an attractive cover and an interesting blurb, your books will be flying off the shelves before you can say “cockeysnobble.”
2. Your book can be used for advertisements by the shop. This in turn benefits both you and the shop owner.
For the doubting mind, I would suggest the 80% to 20% method. This is when you sell 80% of your published books as an ebook and 20% as a printed store based book. This poses a lot of risk because, the prices may differ but it is great when used for a short term marketing strategy.
With the risks and benefits out of the way, let’s look at how we can get our books sold in stores and libraries.
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE:
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1. BE A FREQUENT AND GOOD CUSTOMER / JOIN THEIR COMMUNITY:
What we mean by this is, go for their meetings or programs and present yourself to the owners or employees. Through this method, you can get to meet potential readers for your book as well. Do not start of by bragging about your book. Make them like you, be friendly and try to get their social media handle. Keep in touch with them through your social media and give advice when you go for any meetings. Be an active participant.
When you build a cordial relationship with both the owners and the readers, you can ask them to review your book. Do not pressure them and make them feel like they have to. If they loved your book they would willingly reccomend your book to others or the other book shops they purchase from.
2.KNOW THE DEMOGRAPHICS OF THE NEIGHBOURHOOD:
This means, you must find out what sells more in the specific neighbourhood. Know the genres the people like to read and purchase. This would save you precious time and disappointment. It would lead you to the right shops for your book where they are likely to consider your work.
3. KNOW AND CULTIVATE THE RIGHT AUDIENCE FOR YOUR BOOK:
This is a very critical information that is needed if you want to get good and quick results. Know the audience you are trying to sell or the audience whose needs your book satisfies. When the right audience is targeted, there is a good chance your book would be bought or even recommended.
4.MAKE A GOOD MARKETING AND MEDIA STRATEGY:
You must have a plan from the time your book is published till they are being sold. Not only would this save you time, the book shop owners or library overseer would request that information.
When making a marketing or media strategy, you must consider the amount of money and time you are willing to invest, the advertisement plan that would suit your genre and how fast you want your books to sell. Choose a plan or strategy that suits your resources and meets your expectations.
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1. CREATE A GOOD, TYPO-FREE AND INTERESTING BOOK:
You can’t create a very bad book and expect people to comeback for more. If your book is horribly edited and has lots of errors, you won’t sell no matter what strategy you use. Trying to push such a book may tarnish your reputation in the book industry.
As I have said before, your first book determine if readers would comeback for more. If readers hate your book or the feel cheated because they paid money for a good book and received a shit pile, they would never again buy a book with your name on it. Your book would be treated like a diseased dog, no one would try to work with you or even recommend you.
2. PAY ATTENTION TO THE BOOK COVER:
One thing new writers do is try to reduce cost by doing everything themselves. This is a costly and dangerous practice. You can waste all your time and effort on trying and end up having to pay for it to be redone.
Hiring a good and established book designer to take care of your book cover. Trying to do it on your own or trying a cheaper and naive person can lead to disaster and incur more cost.Also pay close attention to the spine of your book. Make sure enough data is provided on it to attract a readers attention. This is due to the fact that almost all books You must know that every book is judged by their cover. A vibrant one captivating book cover is what compels a reader to even pic up your book to check out its blurb.
3. WRITE A GOOD BLURB TO BE PASTED ON THE COVER OF YOUR BOOK:
The blurb is the short introduction that readers would find on the cover of the book. The function of the blurb is simple, it tells the readers what to expect from the book. It is what determines if a reader would choose your book out of probably, thousands!. It is the main selling point of any book.
A good blurb must make the reader want to know more. It must keep the reader thinking about the book. A blurb has the power to make a reader open up you book and flip to the beginning. A blurb is a powerful and necessary tool in the book industry. Without it, readers would have to bet their time on stars and hope to get what they are looking for.
4. AVOID READ BAITING AND DO NOT DISAPPOINT READERS:
After making a good cover and an exhilarating blurb, make sure the contents of the book lives up to the readers expectation. It is true not everyone who readers your book would like it, but never raise their expectations above what you can really deliver.
Doing this would once again taint your image. When you make your book seem like a bowl of yummy potato chips and deliver dog food, you are completely done for. Getting a flaky reputation it is difficult to convince others that you have really changed.
* THIRD STEP:
1. BE UP TO DATE WITH THEIR PURCHASING PROCESS:
This includes their book sources and what your book needs to be considered for their book shop. Try and look into all he shops you may like your book to be sold in.
Try using the INDIE BOUND COMMUNITY. This site helps both readers and writers find bookstore around America.
2. KNOW THEIR PRIMARY GOALS AND HELP THEM ACHIEVE IT:
All these avenues have one primary goal,’making a descent living.’ They would not like to buy a book they cannot sell because they are also humans who have families and possibly GOALS they are striving to achieve.Understand these goals would help you develop a good plan on how to approach and advertise your book to them.
3. JOIN THEIR DISTRIBUTION CHANNELS:
This is the ultimate step to getting your book in shops and libraries but it doesn’t end just here. In other sign your book there, some valuable information about your book must be given. This would help them and the bookshop owners decide if they can sell your book and obtain a good profit.
The points in the Second step must be taken into consideration. They would help the distributors and book owners or library keepers decide if they are down for your book.Some of the most commonly used distributors are Lulu, Ingram, Bookazaine, America West, Dartftog, Baker&Taylor, Follet, Brodart, Unique quality and Midwest Books.
4. PRICE BOOK REASONABLY:
You must sit down and decide on what price you are willing to offer. Since book shop owners would like to have a booksellers cut or wholesale price, you should know what price you are willing to offer and how low you are willing to cut.
Be ready to expect less money if you want this so badly, but do not accept below what you spent to make them. The prices must be low enough for book sellers and libraries to purchase but sufficient enough for you to make an adequate earning.
5. CONTACT THE LIBRARY OR THE BOOK SHOP:
Once your book is available for them to purchase through these sites, you can go ahead to contact the shops or libraries you would want your book to appear in. This can be done in person, through an email or through a phone call.
Personally, I would rather I tell them about my book in person. There, I would be able to tell if my book would be considered through their body language. Plus, some people are a scared of saying no especially when they are speaking to you in person. Plus, I would be able to explain into detail when we speak in person and not have to worry about my cell phone bill increasing.
Though speaking to all the book shop owners in person can not be possible if the book shop you plan on choosing is far from you. Nonetheless, try as much as possible to approach them in person. You can also give your book to them to read for free and give you feed back.
6. FOLLOW UP BUT DON’T BE TOO PUSHY AND DEMANDING:
You always have to bear in mind that, these shop owners or library owners are also humans beings. It would take time for them to reply or sometimes that might even forget. In other not to be too annoying, call to check in after two weeks without any reply.
If they seem confused, don’t worry just patiently make your request. Don’t forget that patience can move mountains or in our case bookshop owners and library overseers.
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If you feel that all the steps above are too much or too little for you, you can try the following:
1. OPEN YOUR OWN BOOKSTORE:
If you feel you have the wherewithal and resources to open your own bookstore then go ahead. This is like a little insurance police, if you books don’t do great, you just rely on your book shop or if you go out of business your books would still be selling.
This can also be used to market your books. If you Jack buys a cookie, who can tell Jack not to add his own whip cream?
You can use your shop to promote your book and vice versa. And other book shops or libraries may be convinced to buy your book once they know it can be found in other bookstores.
2.THE SNOWBALL EFFECT:
This is when you asks friends or family members who have read your book to suggest or ask to buy your book in bookshops.
The more requests they get, the more their interest in your book rises. The may search it up and buy them fir their demanding customers.
3. INTENTIONALLY LEAVE COPIES AROUND:
Another good tool that would promote bookstore interest in you. This is when you deliberately leave a few copies, two or three, of your book in shops. Readers would notice the book and send it over to the counter to purchase it. The book shop owners would then begin to ask about your book and possibly get them in their stores.
4. CONTACT BOOKSHOPS IN OTHER COUNTRIES:
I have noticed that most people forget that other potential customers exist else where in other countries. In some African countries, the demand for books is unable to be met by the few publications and the few amounts of bookshops don’thelp in increasingthe numbers either.
This leaves a big hole of untouched and unexplored territory that is in pressing need for good books. Everyone wants to be a New York times bestseller and tend to forget that other opportunities are out there. They are all fighting for the little space out there in America. They get so caught up and frustrated when things do not workout and completely give up when things do not go as expected.
In this industry, it takes patience, perseverance and confidence to not lose your mind and buckle under the competition. Use all your resources and your creativity. Find out what works for you because everyone is different and lastly pray for luck on your side.
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I am a fifteen year old book addict and writing enthusiast from Ghana in West Africa. I love potato chips and jelly, pizza too but not so much. If you want to know more about me, you can follow me on other social media platforms. Don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter!!!!