Bookstores have always been around and, believe it or not, will continue to be around.
As an author, or soon to be author, you have so many options on ways to produce your book: digital, audio, on-demand or print. Whichever method or methods that you choose to go with, making bookstore contacts should definitely be on your to do list.
As I indicated in earlier tips, if you have priced your book right, wrote content for your targeted audience and got published, you are steps ahead of some other authors. Bookstores take time to get to know their customers. As such, they also take time to browse through the thousands of titles published yearly to select an inventory that they expect to sell. With the many avenues open to sell a book, book lovers still browse through bookstores or book-related events. Finding the right bookstores or book lovers that might want your book is the challenge.
So, how do you find bookstores? Locally, there is the old-fashion method: the phone book. You can also use an online search engine to find bookstores in your local area. I’m sure you already thought of this. But, I would suggest you check with our national trade association – the American Bookseller Association – www.bookweb.org, to see the many ways that you can connect with booksellers. Of course I can list them all here, but this website could give you many leads. For example, if you are on the East Coast, there is a regional conference every September. At these conferences, you can rub elbows with book store owners, staff, publishers, or participate as an exhibitor or speaker. Sometimes, that personal contact may be the one thing that helped that buyer decide to include your title in their store. And, if you are not physically there, your book could be represented by a catalog or exhibit area at these events. Yes, even if you are self published, your book should be in somebody’s catalog.
One last quick thought. Bookstores don’t just sell the printed books. They sell audio books, digital books, on-demand books, e-readers, etc. So, yes, you can keep beating the pavements to sell your book, but what about that bookstore across country? Do they know about your book? There is an audience there that just might be looking for a book like your and the bookstore can help connect the two. I’m not expecting you to travel across country. As I stated about the conference, your book needs to be represented to the bookstore buyer in some way.
These tips, and more, are included in my 2-hour Author Workshop, which is given throughout the year. Check our website for the next date, or call to schedule one at your convenience for groups of 4 or more.