Any author can get their book listed in an online catalog. But what if you want more? What if you want to rise above the digital masses and be relevant to booksellers and librarians?
In today's digital age of publishing, it's easy to get your book listed on major retail and library sites around the world. But what about: Attracting the attention of the curators of these sales channels? Succeeding in getting some of these channels to highlight, spotlight, and promote your book to their customers or patrons? Having a bookstore or library actually order and stock your print book? Being invited to either host or participate in a live event in a bookstore or library? Standing out as a talented and relevant professional or subject matter expert?
This book walks you through all that you need to know in order to leverage the tools available for successfully working with both bookstores and libraries. If you want to leverage insights into the systems and logistics associated with print, eBook and audiobook distribution to retailers and libraries, to maximize your availability in these formats as well as your overall sales and earnings, then this is the book for you.
Mark has worked in bookstores, published books of his own, started Kobo Writing Life and now works with Draft2Digital. He has forgotten more about selling books than most people will ever learn. When he discusses best practices for selling your books to bookstores and libraries, listen. Lots of wisdom here. – Kristine Kathryn Rusch
"This has excellent, up to date, insider information on working with libraries and bookstores to get them to host physical, ebook, and audio copies of books. If you're a self-publisher or indie publisher this is a worthwhile resource!"– Shannon K (Amazon review)
"Mark (and his book) is a great resource for getting books into libraries and bookstores. His work has helped me and the publishing company I consult with get into more libraries!"– Roland Denzel (Amazon review)
"I bought this book to get insights and ideas about marketing to libraries. What a compelling read it was! Insider information on a number of aspects of publishing and author marketing to bookstores and libraries. Highly recommended."– (Amazon review)
INTRODUCTION: A Room of One's Own Books
As a writer you have never had as many options, control, or choices than at any other time in the history of publishing.
Because in today's digital age of publishing, it's very easy to assume control and publish your book.
It's as simple as having a document in the right format and loading it directly via a retail platform or through a distributor. The tools to do that are free, and with minimal fuss, your book can be listed on all the major eBook retail platforms. In addition, you can easily get that book listed in numerous library systems.
When it comes to print books, you can use similar platforms to make your book available through the global market using POD (print on demand) services. This will make your print book available in online retail book shops as well as available for sale to libraries.
There is a similar process for audiobooks.
All of this, of course, is for online listings only – a significant, and continually growing part of the book industry. But it is still a relatively small portion of the overall industry.
It's one thing to see your book listed in an online retail or library catalog. But what about the dream of having your book on bookstore shelves? What about the feeling of being a featured author doing a book event with a stack of books on the table in front of you and a line up of readers eager to connect with you to get that book signed?
As of the writing of this book, industry statistics report that in North America upwards of 70% to 80% of people who read still read print books. The stats also indicate that the most common method for people to find out about print books isn't an online listing, it's through recommendations from friends and family.
While more purchases are happening online, one of the top ways that people still learn about new books to read is by seeing them on shelves and displays, and physically touching and holding those books in libraries and in bookstores.
This is not to mention the incredible social currency that comes with the in-person and physical connection that can happen between an author and a reader. A personal connection that, like the writing itself, can transcend the page.
Because there's something truly special when a reader has the opportunity to interact with a writer whose books they cherish.
Even if you have already achieved online and digital success, if you are pulling in a respectable income, perhaps enough to make a living as a full-time writer, if you are hitting online bestseller lists and you have readers from around the world, there are legacy systems within the book industry related to physical distribution that aren't as straightforward or seemingly easy to navigate.
Getting your book onto bookstore and library shelves or making those magical in person connections that can come from working with libraries and bookstores might seem really appealing, but so frustratingly out of reach.
But, I'm here to tell you it's not out of reach.
It's something you can have.
I have written this book to provide you with an understanding of those parts of the book industry and to help you navigate that perceived gap. And to show you that with a bit of work, a bit of learning, a bit of research, and a lot of determination, you can have those things too.
I've worked in the book industry since the early 1990s and I'm going on thirty years of experience working in virtually every type of bookstore that exists. I've worked at mall stores, big box stores, academic bookstores, independent bookstores, online bookstores, and digital eBook and audiobook bookstores.
In addition, as a board member of BookNet Canada, an organization that develops technology, standards, and education to serve the Canadian book industry, I have collaborated with colleagues who represented other types of bookstores and library channels. And of course, being a giant book nerd, I have always spent a lot of time in bookstores and libraries.
This book is my attempt to share the things I have experienced and learned about bookstores and libraries with you, to help empower you with information that you can use in order to succeed in that print-focused realm of the book industry.
If you have been an author for a while you will likely already be familiar with some of the basic elements I describe and walk through in the early sections of each chapter. Those may be elements you choose to skip over; or perhaps you might use them as a refresher to your own experience. But it was important for me to include them in order to make this book as complete, informative, and useful whether you are an experienced author, or you are just beginning.
In a similar way, I provide insights and strategies for both traditionally published and self-published authors, so that you can find value and understand your options regardless of how you have approached your path into the book world.
But regardless of the logistics of where you are on your own author journey or how your books are published, this book should present you with insights, ideas, and inspiration that you can use to grow and enhance your own interactions with bookstores and libraries.
So, if you're ready, take my virtual hand, and follow me on to the next page, where we can begin to explore all of these options and opportunities together.