Posted on 2013-Jul-08
Prosperity and Reality
Being a self-publisher is not an exotic or esoteric term any longer. As much as the term represents the new dawn of publishing prosperity, self-publishing is more commonly accepted—most importantly by readers. Somehow, its definition presents the daunting reality that one has to work harder to compete in this fast-paced business. Fortunately, those who fare well share their hands-on practicality about what their colleagues can do to make the experience worthwhile.
Roz Morris opens up about building relationships with the bookshops that gives her a confidence booster in distributing her print edition. Although her initial decision was to provide the physical version that supplied the reader’s demand, she had no way to find out what they had in store for her. The actual conversation with the owner formed a business deal that they were willing to stock her print books after reading her books.
Having had success with one bookshop, Roz gained more confidence to approach other indie bookshops. Doing appearances at book signings seems to pay off as it cements the path to attract more potential clients and allies. An indie bookshop—Barton—recently posted a five-star review at Amazon titled ‘Memories of Roz Persist at Barton’s Bookshop’. At the end of the review, the shop’s owner—Peter Snell—asks her to join their book signing event. Each time she visits the shop, he will mention her outstanding book cover to his customer promoting her book. Besides, local readers love to meet authors live. According to Roz, what they want from an indie author is an “eclectic stock” that will distinguish them from their competitors.
Physical Book’s Challenge
In the second part of her article how indie authors can get their books stocked in bookshops, Roz further elaborates how the bookshops can order your books. CreateSpace and Nielsen are the two platforms that she recommends. Heed her advice carefully. Unlike putting your eBook for sales on digital shelf, printing actual books and basically any process in regards to distribution cost money. Due to the various stocking policies, delivery costs might cut into your profit margin. Regardless of how many books are sold, you still have to deal with returns and unsold books. Some bookshops can keep the books as long as they are there; some may want to dust off their shelf in a timely manner.
Having risked getting rejected from the bookshop, Roz encourages you to overcome the obstacles and consider delivering your book far beyond the uncharted territory. Different bookshops understand book promotion differently. Although Barton’s regularly hosts the signing events, the ones in London do not even bother to get involved with the ‘Ask an Author’ event she proposed.
Apart from diversifying distribution channels, there are so many things indie authors can learn from Rachel Abbott who sold 100,000 copies that earned her 70% royalties, according to Joanna Pen. The theme of hard work is resounded time and again. In order to achieve such an enviable success, hard work can be translated as full-time marketing and re-editing; it took her three months after publication to market her book.
Hiring Professional Experts
Working with others helps her learn so much more to improve the quality of her content. During the initial process of editing, her agent contributed to the first editing. The second phase of editing further helped to ‘fine-tune’ some of the issues such as inconsistencies and typos. She also worked with the cover designer who she had worked with for a long time. Editing is one of the things that changed her perception about looking for professional services. The editor’s comments helped enlighten certain elements in the book that required adjustment for better clarification. Her designer does his best job to create the first impression of what people look for in the first place. In her opinion, the “design is an essential part of the whole package.”
Live Appearances Lead to Collaboration
From the perspective of Roz, having her books available in print edition and building the relationship with bookshops are crucial for her book distribution. Her public appearance plays a significant role in connecting with her local readers and bookshops’ representatives. The more live event authors participate in, the better chance they get discovered by new audience and/or potential business partners. Peter Snell, for instance, has become partly her fan and PR executive who enthusiastically promotes her book. For Rachel, she realizes how professional service providers can get her book into a better shape for readership. Apart from having worked with so many authors, these experts in their field can see the finished product from a fresh new viewpoint that can bring more depths and added value into the package.
I admitted it before in our earlier blog that there were professional experts who can assist your bookmaking process from start to finish. What self-publishers should be aware of is they are “at the center of a team.” The fruitful labor of collaborating with professional service providers is worth the consideration and investment.
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