Friday, December 7, 2007

What Publishers and Authors can do for Book Sellers, a Publisher’s Viewpoint

As a publisher, we want to make it as easy for bookstores and non-trade outlets (such as museum stores, gift shops, etc.) to sell our books as possible. Here are some relatively easy things you, as an author or publisher, can do to help these outlets.

1. Signed books/bookplates and “Autographed Copy” stickers

Offering autographed copies of books has always been important to us, and it’s a reason why many resellers and book dealers buy our books from us instead of elsewhere. The majority of our books come signed by the author. When it isn’t feasible for the author to sign all the books himself (a few of our authors live overseas), we have them sign bookplates which we include with every order. Signed books sell faster and provide the seller with something customers can’t get on Amazon or at other stores.

We also provide resellers with gold sticker labels that say “Autographed Copy” which they can place on the front cover of our books. It’s an easy way for the buyers to know they are getting something special. There are different varieties of stickers available on book supply websites and a couple of rolls of the labels are an inexpensive investment.

2. Downloadable material

It’s in everyone’s best interest to have a successful book signing event. The publisher, author, and bookstore all want to sell as many books as they can at these events. We work closely with bookstores to promote the event beforehand. Most bookstores like to (and should always) put up some sort of book display and posters in their store prior to an author event. They usually also have an “Events” page on their website listing upcoming events and mail or email event info out to their database of customers. Make sure to provide the bookstore with a digital image of your book’s cover and an author photo. Many bookstores also appreciate a description of the book and an author bio. You can email these to the bookstore events coordinator. Or, make them available for easy download on your website. The Publicity section of our website has downloadable information sheets for each book and computer and print quality images of all of our book covers and author photos. Bookstores and members of the media can easily download these at any time.

3. Media

As Ted Savas mentioned in a recent blog post, the publisher has a limited amount of time and budget for each book. If we think a book will do well and we have the author’s full support in our efforts, we’ll put more time into marketing the book. Promoting events beforehand with in-store displays, community event calendar listings, and media coverage such as a local radio interview and book review in the local paper all help. As much as we’d like to think people will magically flock to an event just because the book is great, it doesn’t happen unless you draw the people in.

The book sellers you work with will appreciate these small things you can do to help them sell your book. If you already do one, try implementing the other two and see what a difference it makes. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog post: What Publishers can do for Book Sellers, a Bookstore’s Viewpoint.

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