What it takes for indie authors to see their books on shelves.
Hi everyone. Today I’m following up with more information about my goals concerning books I’ve recently released in. This Post will cover both hardcover and paperback books already published and those which will be released in the future.
Additionally, this post is for both readers and authors. Readers will be interested to see behind the scenes details of publication and distribution. Authors will be interested in that some of their ideas about selling print books will be changed.
I have written several recent posts related to my hardcover and paperback goals as well as other formats. Those links can be found at the end of this post. Likewise, there is another link which further addresses many of the issues regarding print distribution to book stores by independent authors.
Meanwhile, from an author’s perspective, it’s important to include both paperback and hardcover in your plans. For an author it’s one more piece of the pie and readers like having choices.
From a writing perspective, readers benefit from a variety of formats which they can purchase for themselves or other people. Author’s benefit from offering a wider range of purchasing options to their readers.
But what about getting books into bookstores? Is it really a difficult prospect to place books in stores? The answer to these questions is yes and no.Tweet
There are some hoops through which authors have to jump to get into bookstores as independent, self-publishers. However there is no real obstacle in the way of an author getting books into bookstores except for our pre-conceived notions.
So, what does it take to have books in bookstores? There are several details that you will need to cover and many of those points are discussed in the specific link at the end of this post which dispel the sacred cow ideas about distribution. In short, you will need books present in catalogs which bookstores use for ordering. Also, you will need to offer your books at discount, which is 55%. Next, you will have to make them returnable (more about this below). The last aspect is the need for a publishing imprint. Let’s look more closely at these points:
- First, your books will need to be available through catalogs. This means your print books need to be available through distributors like Ingram. For independent authors Ingram Spark is available for publication and distribution of ebooks and print books through their catalog. That’s one giant step in the correct direction.
- In relation to being in distributor catalogs, you will also need to offer the discount mentioned above which is easy from Ingram spark.
- It must also be mentioned that the books should be returnable.
The question of returnable books is an interesting one for many authors. Many writers will balk at returnable because they don’t want to carry inventory themselves. However there are ways to mark how your book will be returned, the easiest being the covers torn off for return. The most interesting caveat to returnable books is that with print on demand, there are far fewer returns from book stores of books that are unsold on the shelves. This is a major change in the book industry in that even big chain stores, as well as smaller independent stores, generally do not order large quantities to keep on shelves anymore. Instead, bookseller prefer to only order just enough and re-supply through print on demand for what they actually need. In this way, book returns are far smaller in number (see the post link at the end for more details).
Many writers will balk at returnable because they don’t want to carry inventory themselves.Tweet
Now that we’ve covered the issues of distribution, there remains one more detail for the independent author: an imprint. Book stores prefer to order from an imprint, no matter what it is, because it makes them feel like they’re dealing with a company rather than an individual. It’s a subtle distinction, but an important one.
For readers, this is not that big a deal, seemingly. However that imprint on the book is the last thing which bookstores look for when they are ordering for their own inventory. Remember, book stores are not ordering to keep large quantities of inventory on shelves which costs them money. Instead they are only ordering print on demand in most cases in order to keep a lower inventory.
Aside from marketing questions, these details address all of the issues of placing print books in bookstores. As an added bonus, it makes it easier to market to libraries which also consult distributor catalogs. This last point, is one which should get and author’s attention since a library is also a customer and is more likely to buy all the pieces of the pie which are available from the author / publisher. In this way, readers will have their personal preference in formats available in bookstores as well as libraries.
Now, back to my own goals for my print books. It is easy for me to distribute my print books through Ingram Spark and check all of the main boxes which get my titles attention in catalogs. The last detail which needs my attention is creating an imprint. Running an imprint requires a little more to set in motion. I’m currently researching how to go about creating and using my own publishing imprint. This will include some artwork as well as several business details. Working through all of these steps can take some time so it makes this next step more of a long-term goal rather than an immediate one.
It may take several months before the imprint is ready to be used, but it may be well worth the effort. Once the publishing imprint is ready, I can begin marketing to book stores easily without any roadblocks to the books being placed on the shelves. Regardless, books in such distributor catalogs as Ingram’s, even without an imprint can be ordered by readers and delivered directly to stores. Likewise, readers can also order the print additions online from retailers.
One last parting thought for both readers and authors is that this is also a way to get on shelves with other stores such as those at airports. This also includes stores like Walmart, Costco, Sam’s club, grocery stores, and pharmacies. So there are many places where books can appear on shelves and ways to market print to those locations to be available for readers. Recently, I found that my audio publisher is now selling audio books through Costco audio bookstore app which is a big development for Podium Audio as well as me.
That’s all have today. I hope this has been informative for authors and helpful for readers to understand what it takes for an independent author to place books in bookstores and why fewer independent authors are represented on physical shelves.
I hope my print editions will be available on some shelves as time goes on. In the meantime, you can find out more about one of my recent titles and the provided links at the very end by scrolling on…
The Order of the Dark Rose, Volume 1 of The Cursed Mage Case Files:
An arch-mage can handle almost anything. Unless he’s cursed, lost his job and facing an unknown enemy.
The Gallantean Empire relies increasingly upon magical technology which cleans sewers, runs trams and much more. Within the capital city of Cal Rindon, magic is pervasive, but not necessarily used without criminal activity. The bustling metropolis boasts constant innovations mixed with growing pains. Amid the good lurks the bad with unrest and growing crime.
Arch-mage Manny Mandeheim fell under a curse, watched his fiancé die, and then lost his job as a spy. So what’s an arch-mage to do? Start his own magical investigation service while he works to clear his good name and maybe avenge his lost love. With his very un-magical partner, Wish Ackford, Manny discovers the menace of a much larger conspiracy than he expected looming behind his curse. The limitations from the hex leave him at a distinct disadvantage as he and Wish investigate.
Assassins lurk at every corner or in every tram car. The threat of an unknown mastermind with murky intentions lingers just out of sight. A questionable source offers the hint of a secret order hounding Manny’s footsteps. A murder leads to wrenching discoveries.
Nothing an arch-mage can’t handle…
Unless the curse limits how much magic he can use or kills him outright.
A mixture of gaslamp fantasy and Sherlock Holmes-like cases, The Order of the Dark Rose is a sleuth private detective mystery set in an alternate fantasy world where magic is both commonplace and dangerous. Mysteries abound in this original, new fantasy from P. H. Solomon, author of the award-winning, best-selling epic fantasy series, The Bow of Hart Saga.
Can Manny survive long enough to break his curse? Or will the arch-mage’s hidden foe escape him?
Click one of these buttons for more information (print at Amazon only at this time):
About the Author:
Multi retailer Bestselling Author, Fantasia Reviews Book of the Year Author 2017 & 2018
U. S. author, P. H. Solomon grew up with a love of books including fantasy. Always interested in odd details, history and the world around him, P. H. has found an outlet in writing where he mixes a wide range of interests from the regular world, history and anthropology into his fantasy books.
His epic fantasy series, The Bow of Hart Saga, brought a fresh viewpoint to the genre where magic, myth and mysticism mingle. Described by readers as a “mixture of the classic fantasy past with new ideas.”
Trading Knives (0.1)
What is Needed (0.2)
The latest series, The Cursed Mage Case Files is a mash-up of classic Sherlock Holmes, The Dresden Files and Harry Potter into a unique fantasy world where magic is both an arcane practice and a technological power to be harnessed. Join Mandlefred Mandeheim and Wishton Ackford as they team up to investigate magical mysteries.
The Unseen Hand #2 (upcoming)
The Nine Jewel Heist #3 (upcoming)
See the entire book catalog at P. H. Solomon’s Amazon Author Page.
Find more about P. H. Solomon as well as articles and research notes, plus a free stories, at https://www.PHSolomon.com
The Order of the Dark Rose, Volume 1 of The Cursed Mage Case Files: An arch-mage can handle almost anything. Unless he’s cursed, lost his job and facing an unknown enemy.Tweet
Indie books cannot make it into bookstores from Dean Wesley Smith’s Sacred Cow Myths