The hard part is done. You have completed your new best seller. You have just purchased a new wheel-barrel to collect all the cash that will soon be rolling in. Your family, friends and co-workers have kept you afloat for the first several months with more than acceptable sales figures. But wait. What is happening? Is there more to life than Amazon?
The Online Train is Moving
The online giants have lulled you into a world where everything is packaged perfectly for your new baby. Great picture of your book, a brief description of your work, and even an attractive picture of you, the author, with your bio. Reviews with loving words and nothing but kind gestures. Armed with your Best Seller Ranking, you are now ready to move on to other and possibly more lucrative distribution channels. Be careful.
Other Channels of Distribution
Don’t get me wrong, the online giants are wonderful places to sell your book. In fact, many authors go no where but online. In the words of self-publishing guru Dan Poynter, the hardest place to sell a book is at the bookstore! On the surface, you would assume that the large and independent bookstores would love to sell your book. Why not? After all, there is another title they can add to their repertoire, and the margins aren’t so bad as well.
A lot depends upon the Publisher
Selling your book directly to the consumer either through your website or through an online source is a relatively straight forward proposition. It gets a little trickier when you venture off the online train and attempt to move to the major wholesalers. One thing to look out for is whether or not the publishing entity will take returns on your book. If so, all is good. If not, this could be a major hurdle that you have to overcome in order to get your book distributed offline. The retailer at the end of the line needs to be able to return it to an entity, like a publisher, if the consumer is unhappy with their purchase, or there is something wrong with the book itself.
Don’t be Caught off Guard
While the online market is a great and necessary place to be, such can be said of the offline market of bookstores, big box stores, and the plethora of other opportunities for sales. If your publisher will not accept returns, it is not the end of the world. There are companies out there who specialize in distributing other publisher’s books once completed. Usually another ISBN is established and away you go. Make sure if you are in the early phases of your project, you check on returns and what is really in the fine print of expanded distribution.
John Patrick (Jay) Thomas is a four-time cancer survivor who lives with his family in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. Jay attended Gettysburg College and The American University before embarking on an entrepreneurial career on Wall Street. Jay turned to the teaching profession after his life-threatening bout with bone cancer, where he has taught at Charleston Southern University, Southern Wesleyan University, and more recently at West Ashley High School. He has traveled as a missionary and may be one of the few people that tell you cancer was the best thing to ever happen to him. You’ll have to ask him why.