Book Distribution

Every time I talk to a new author one of their goals is to get their books into a local bookstore. They dream of walking by a bookstore window and seeing an impressive display of their very own book.

In reality it would do an author more good to have their books picked up by libraries. More people would probably see the book in a library and libraries outright purchase the books and don’t ever return them.

The main thing you want to avoid is letting anyone ever take control of your intellectual property. You must read the fine print and retain all of your rights. You have many choices to consider when becoming a successful author but the main issue is always keep control of your book whether it is in the printed or electronic versions.

Most authors have found they are more successful in obtaining book signings, to get media coverage, than actually having their books permanently in a bookstore.

Once I do book signings at boutique privately owned stores, they will typically purchase three to five books to keep on their shelves. And since they purchase them outright, they never return them. Whereas, big name bookstore chains are famous for giving an author a ten day notice to buy their books back when the book store is making room on their shelves for the latest titles. That can be quite a shock. Always be aware of what you are signing up for when you’re working with any company.

It’s not enough to just get your book into a book store; you must be thinking about how to get the books back out of the bookstore and in the hands of new enthusiastic readers who will become your fans.

Advertising is of course the most common method of letting people know your book is out and to get it into the hands of the public. But what if you don’t have a big marketing budget? You might want to try this technique that has worked very well for me.

First, I approach local books stores to set up the date for a book signing. Once I have a date, I call local radio programs who specialize in interviewing authors. It is usually necessary to approach them at least a month or two ahead of time. Once I have the radio interview I scan the Sunday section of the newspaper to find out what reporters cover local events and book reviews.

I approach them to ask for an interview. Since they are approached fairly often by authors I make a point of letting them know I have already set up the book signing and at least one radio interview. That will get them on board quicker than any conversation. You can also try to line up local television segments.

When you do at least one book signing in this manner every month you’ll gain momentum in your local market consistently. But what about getting exposure outside your area?

I usually know at least three to six months ahead of time before I’m scheduled to do a speaking engagement out of town. I make it a point of having at least four engagements a year that are out of state. Then I call the radio stations and talk with the producers in those areas and set up interviews to coincide with the date of my speaking gig. I make up tickets for my event and offer to give them away on the show as an advantage of interviewing me.

Most of the time it’s easier to get newspaper coverage in an out of state area compared to my local papers.

That being said, it is possible to get your book in bookstores across the country as well as the International market. One of the best methods of choosing a distributor is to make sure they have a full range of services. Everything you need in a distribution service is available through these resources:

  • Domestic and International sales
  • Digital sales, conversion, and distribution services
  • Marketing, editorial, and design consultation
  • Direct, established relationships with key retail and wholesale accounts
  • Web-based Sales, Inventory, and Financial Reporting
  • Title management and catalog services
  • Advertising and publicity management and services
  • Sales to independent and specialty markets

Still, you will have to take the time to market your events to keep the momentum. Regardless of how long you’ve been an author, you must keep up the routines to keep your book sales consistent.


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