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). How’s this for starting 2016 with a bang:
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 marrs 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 🙂