Mark Leslie Lefebvre has worked in the book industry since 1992 in almost every tyle of brick and mortar, online, and digital bookstore. He is a past President of the Canadian Booksellers Association, former Director of Self-Publishing and Author Relations for Rakuten Kobo, and the founder of Kobo Writing Life, Kobo's free direct publishing platform. He has given talks about the business of writing and publishing across North America and in in Europe.

With over thirty years of experience in bookselling and as an author who has embraced both traditional and indie-publishing opportunities, Mark is an advocate for helping authors understand the options available to them for finding success on their own unique author journey.

A Book in Hand by Mark Leslie Lefebvre

Mark's more than thirty years of experience in the book industry as both a writer and an author, makes him a much sought-after consultant. He has sat on the board of directors for BookNet Canada and was a professional advisor for the creation of Sheridan College's Honors Program in Writing and Publishing.

Print remains the largest global market for book sales. Are you taking full advantage of the opportunities that can help you sell more print books?

Anyone can run eBook price-drops via newsletter promotions and run ads to help game the algorithms of Amazon and sell digital copies of a book. But it takes a unique combination of understanding, research, and leveraging what brought you to writing in the first place to rise above the online digital slush pile.

•If you're interested in increasing your chances of not only selling more books at in person events but also driving deeper and more meaningful connections with the people who are buying and reading your books . . .
•If you want ways to stand out and become visible well beyond the digital masses . . .
•If you want to understand how you can employ the same skills that helped you in writing your book to assist with marketing your book . . .

. . . then you've come to the right place.

This book, which is drawn from the author's more than thirty years of being an author and working in the book industry, explores strategies of how authors can better understand the print book market. Whether you're traditionally published or indie published, you will find numerous examples and specific strategies that authors have employed in raising the bar when it comes to selling more print books.

Because, as you'll learn here, a book in hand is worth two on the shelf.

[This book, which is exclusive to Storybundle, is an 18,000-word special sneak peek of a book that will be appearing in August 2024 at roughly twice its current length. Your purchase will include the provision of the full completed book when it becomes available]


Once upon a time, Mark Leslie was a bookseller. One of those in-person people who actually planned author signings and such. He went from there to founder of Kobo's free online publishing platform, and he continues to work in and around books, both the paper kind and the ebook kind. His advice is based on decades of experience and is exclusive to this bundle. – Kristine Kathryn Rusch





A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

You've likely heard that expression before and are familiar with the meaning of it. But just in case you're not, the idea—which is derived from an old Greek proverb—is that it's better to hold on to something that you already have, even if it's small, then to risk losing it by trying to attain something better.

In some situations, expressing the partial proverb of a bird in hand is enough to provoke that same meaning.

And, in the way that I like to take a well-known idiom and twist it a little to apply in a different situation, I've had fun playing with that one.

In this case, I've applied a few of the principles that I've learned from my decades in bookselling to that well-known saying.

But my re-interpreted version goes like this:

A book in hand is worth two on the shelf.

It's based on a bookselling principle that has long been understood by those who work among the stacks in book shops.

A book that is placed into a customer's hand is far more likely to sell than a book they see on the shelf in front of them. And the longer they hold that book, the more likely it is that they'll bring it to the cash register to purchase.

I named this book after that personal pet phrase and insider bookseller knowledge because I think it's one of the fundamental elements that are important for authors to understand; particularly if they wish to increase their own chances for success when it comes to selling more physical books.

You see, most of the content available for authors—especially indie authors—has to do with digital strategies, keywords, cost-per-click ads, and things that you can do to optimize your eBook and online selling game.

But very few resources help you in an area that I think is sadly all too lacking, but one where you're able to stand above the competition more easily.

Because when it comes to Amazon Ads, for example, authors with a "bottomless" credit card and exorbitant marketing budget can run hoops around all the rest of us.

Even if their book or their skills as a storyteller aren't nearly as good.

It's a case of those with the most money being able to pay their way pretty much to the top.

But that's not the case when it comes to in person events and establishing real live human connections with readers.

That's where what makes you unique and special comes in. And it doesn't have to do with how much money you have; merely leveraging two of the things that likely led you to be a writer in the first place: storytelling and creativity.

You'll likely notice that recurring sentiment throughout this book.

Because if you're prepared to embrace the passion of storytelling that drove you to become a writer in the first place, and if you apply the same creativity that you do when it comes to the books you write, then you already have two of the most important elements needed to succeed in this area.

The third element, which will also be a recurring theme in this book, and which is a fundamental part of an author's success, is professionalism.

We will, of course, sprinkle other ingredients into the mix to produce unique twists and flavors; but storytelling, creativity, and professionalism will be the core components. At least one of those elements will be at the base of the various recipes we'll explore.

So, if you're interested in seeing how you can increase your chances of not only selling more books at in person events, but also driving deeper and more meaningful connections with the people who are buying and reading your books; if you want ways to stand out and become visible well beyond the digital masses, then you've come to the right place.

In the following pages we'll explore a little bit of reasoning behind some of the strategies that I'll be sharing with you; tales collected from decades of personal experience that involves my own work as a writer, but also my career as a bookseller, and in working alongside authors from both the traditional and indie publishing realms.

You will find various examples and specific strategies that some authors have used or employ when they are selling physical books in person. But just remember that—like in any writing advice book—the most important thing you can do isn't to merely copy or mimic the things you read about, but to consider each detail, figure out what works and what doesn't work for you, adapt them into your own unique strategies.

And that's part of where your own creativity—the things that make you and your own books truly unique from any other writer—takes center stage.

So, now that we've laid out the groundwork for what is to come, let's venture forth together and see what strategies can help you with getting your books into the right reader's hands at the right time.