So you took the plunge, you wrote your book! That’s awesome! And then you decided to forgo the traditional publishing route and went indie. Maybe your book is doing great in the digital world, but what if you want to see your book in print at your local bookstore? What if you want to tell people that yeah, they can just go down the street and pick up your awesome book at the same place they can buy all the other literary greats? Well, I am here to tell you how you might be able to go about that.
1. What Are The Store Policies?
Before you even think about pitching your book, you should know what you’re getting yourself into. Most bookstores have their policies on their website. If not there, you can call, or visit and ask.
So why are the policies important? Different stores have different business models and may handle indie books differently. For example, they may take indie books on consignment only, meaning that they will only pay you if your books sell. Also, some bookstores have reading fees. This covers the time it takes for employees of the store to read and then decide if your book is right for their store.
The bookstore agreed to take your book! Congratulations! This doesn’t mean the work is over, though. Consider this a partnership. Your book is in their store, it’s time to pull your weight and raise awareness with your readers about where they can find your book. This does not mean you need to push your book in everyone’s faces. A tweet or a blog post about the bookstore can do wonders, and remember to include a link to the bookstore’s website to make it easier for your followers to find.
3. If The Bookstore Is Holding An Event, Go To It.
Simple as that. And this does include events other than your own. Most local bookstores carry several local authors’ books. It’s a good idea to make yourself a part of that community even before your book is finished. Don’t forget that authors are almost always readers. Hang out at the events, talk about your favorite books and support your local authors. However, if you can’t attend events, remember to still check in with the bookstore occasionally.
4. The Booksellers Know Where To Put Your Book, Trust Them.
It’s their shop, and it’s their business to know what sections sell best. If you think you wrote a fantasy and they place it in romance, trust their judgment. After all, they want your book to sell too!
5. Your Book Will Be Judged By Its Cover.
If you’re going to have your book printed, take the time to have a good quality cover designed. You want your book to look as good as any other book by any other publisher.
Grammar and spelling are also very important. Make your book as perfect as you possibly can before making it public (Though even the best authors will find at least one typo after their book is published, no matter how careful they were). Still, spend time and effort on making sure you really love your cover and that it stands out.
6. Don’t Give Away (Too Many) Free Copies.
One or two maybe, but don’t get carried away. For books to sell well, they usually need that initial spur of buyers right away. The best place to find those buyers are family and friends who are willing and able to support your work. This momentum really gets sales going.
7. Make An Appointment.
Call ahead, make your appointment and get prepared. Chances are you’ll only have one chance to pitch your book. For this reason, many authors prepare pitches in advance. Why not just walk into the store unannounced during business hours you might ask? Because even if the bookseller is there, they could be too busy to give your book the attention it deserves. Plus making an appointment sets a tone of respect and professionalism, which can only help you in the end.
As hinted in #3, selling books locally is all about community. Many booksellers are eager for a local story; such as a true crime novel about something that happened nearby. But if your book isn’t a local story, that’s okay, you’re still a local author. You get to make the kind of connection with the bookstore, and with local readers, that you just can’t make online or in a bookstore halfway across the world.
Are you ready to sell your book? Go out and do it! You got this!
YouTube Channel: SelfPubSuccess
Featured image via We Like L.A.