How to Get Your Self-Published Book into Big Retailers

When most people dream of becoming an author, they image their book displayed on the shelves of their favorite bookstores and picture readers picking it up, looking at the cover, flipping through the pages. They imagine the smell and feel of their book in print. Despite the popularity of ebooks, there is just something magical about a paper book.

Many people think self-publishing only means creating ebooks and selling books online, but choosing self-publishing doesn’t mean you have to give up your dream of seeing your book in print in big retail stores.

So how do you get your self-published book one of those highly coveted spots on the large retailer shelves? The short answer: one step at a time. These step-by-step strategies can get you closer to your bookstore goals:

  • Start with online and in-person sales. Sell at book fairs, on your social media sites, at local events and any place you can set up a table and take payment.
  • Market your book. Set up a clear plan for marketing and publicizing your book so you can gather interest and increase sales.
  • Establish that your book is desirable. Track every sale and look for patterns of growth. This information is appealing to book retailers.
  • Use those sales figures. Once you’ve established that you have, or are heading toward, positive sales trends, start talking to local bookstores, seeking a commitment to carry your book.
  • Tailor your product. Armed with your bookstore commitments, work with your self- publishing company to change your trade discount and retail price and add retail returns, so bookstores can carry your book.
  • Expand to larger markets. Put together a proposal to submit to bookstore contacts and approach larger markets about getting your self-published book on their shelves.

Getting into big retail stores can be a difficult process, but if you keep your eye on the big picture and work consistently toward your goal, it’s doable.

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 25 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Director of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

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