This is how you get your book onto a bookstore shelf

You walk in and hand it to them. Well, not quite that easy, but close. I’m exhausted from jumping up and down over here – Shizzle, Inc is now available at Readings St Kilda (that’s in Melbourne, Australia).Β How’s this for starting 2016 with a bang:

Book on the shelf

I always wanted to get my book into a brick-and-mortar bookstore, but did not have a plan on how I was going to get this feat accomplished. My general feeling after reading online articles was that it’s very hard for self-published authors to do so. Perhaps it is, if you expect the bookstore buyers to order books from CreateSpace, but NOT if you are willing to be a supplier yourself, and to sell on consignment (this means you don’t get paid until the book is sold, and the store reserves the right to return the stock to you without payment, if it does not sell).

On Saturday, I was catching up with my sister for a coffee on the famous Acland street in St Kilda, when I’d decided to mix in some business and stop by Readings to enquire about selling books on consignment. I was told to come back on Monday to talk to the store manager, and that they “do it all the time”.

I could hardly wait till Monday, and showed up at the store with trepidation and a paperback in hand. The store manager turned out to be this gorgeous creature called Amy. She not only agreed to take the book (after a brief glance through, probably to check the print quality), she asked for three more copies to “give it some shelf presence”. Needless to say, I was back in a couple of hours with more books, an invoice, and signed agreement. Amy suggested that I should price the book “under $29” (all prices stated are in Australian dollars). I almost fainted and said I was thinking about $19.99 at most, and she seconded that motion. Readings take 40% on top of your “wholesale” price, which I set at $14.27 to get the overall $19.99. It costs me just about $8 per book, depending on the conversion rate, so my profit before tax is just over $6, which makes me happy indeed. Also, I just found out today that Lightning Source now prints B&W books in Victoria, so once I get that sorted, my per-copy price will come down to a mere $5.30!

The same process was a bit more difficult with the buyer for the Readings Carlton, who also happens to be the buyer for Readings in the State Library. He happily agreed to take a copy for review, but warned me that it will take him a week to get back to me. Fingers crossed.

I also have in my sights another Readings and two Dymocks buyers, which together cover about half-dozen stores. I’m not too thrilled to have to keep track of multiple venues, but that hardly marrsΒ the excitement of having my actual, physical book in an actual, physical store, where people may discover it just by browsing.

Of course, I can’t do the same in the US stores, or at least I have not yet come up with a strategy. At this point I’m thinking of contacting a few stores, arranging for 4-5 copies at a time to be printed and sent to them directly (if they agree), and just taking the risk that the books will not sell. In the US, without the international shipping, a book will cost me about $6-7 AUD, so I could take that risk, unless anybody has a genius idea for me?

Would love to hear from any self-published authors with books in the US bookstores, and thank you, everyone, again for such beautiful comments and thanks on my previous post. You have no idea how motivational it is for me to continue going – in fact, it was what got me to punch out 2,000 words yesterday and 2,800 words today! Thank you all so very, very much πŸ™‚


Filed under Self-publishing and marketing

145 responses to “This is how you get your book onto a bookstore shelf

  1. You are working so very hard to market and sell your book — you have to be successful — you will be! The way you are not giving up and the way you are paving your way — you will succeed! Yaz

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’re a great source of information, Ana.
    That’s wonderful because someone told me to do that in the past. I also submitted my book to Librarians that way.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well done you! Amazing! What an inspiration πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You look so proud of your literary baby up there on that shelf! Congratulations. I’m sure all your hard work will be rewarded one-hundred fold.
    I’ve been distributing book flyers in my locality today and have been greatly encouraged by people’s enthusiasm to have them in their shops and cafes etc.
    It’s all about being proactive and believing in your product, which is easier when the sun is shining as everyone is in a more receptive mood around you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, on the first couple of photos I looked half-insane from excitement πŸ™‚

      Very exciting about flyers – would love to hear if you find that effective – are you advertising ebook or print version?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve got the book’s front cover illustration with the address in a colour-coordinated strip on the right hand side of it. Then on the back of the flyer, I’ve got the blurb. That way, people can type my book in the search on amazon and choose which edition they want. Yesterday, my paperback sales had overtaken my ebook ones, with the majority of the buyers from the UK where I decided to price it lower than elsewhere on the grounds that I’m likely to sell more paperbacks in my own country. I made this decision, based on the advice that Rick Smith gave in his book “CreateSpace & Kindle Self-Publishing Masterclass”. Thus my profit is not that huge (60 pence a book) but it’s all about being a debut author and getting the book out there. I’m thinking about changing my keywords and sub-categories on kdp, based on feedback that I’m getting from my readers i.e. they keep talking about it as science fiction when I thought it was primarily urban fantasy. It will be interesting to see if fiddling with the keywords ups my ebook sales.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Congratulations on your sales, Sarah! I may need to price mine lower too, at the moment I get practically no paperback sales via the web. Thank you so much for sharing!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Outstanding. Good luck and good to know. πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Well done. Printing in Australia can be pretty cost effective. Keep us posted on how sales go; I would be really curious as a similar strategy has been on my to do list for a little while.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Deb

    You are such a hard worker. I have a hard enough time writing the book, but from your posts I can see that is the least of the work needed. Your hard work is bound to gain some massive fruits. I am learning a lot from your posts

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow!! Congratulations!! And this is such a motivating post and perhaps have me thinking I should head towards that direction too! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Congrats on getting your book published! And here I thought WRITING the book was the hardest part of it πŸ™‚ BTW, thanks for visiting and following Beauty Along the Road.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: Happy belated birthday to Shizzle, Inc! | Ana Spoke, author

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