Publishing an eBook is awesome, no doubt about it. But for me, the ultimate goal of a self-published author is getting your book onto a bookshelf in an actual brick and mortar book store. Imagine walking into your favourite book store and watching as a complete stranger picks your book off the shelf. Heaven!
I’d love to just walk into my local Chapters (Canadian book store) and ask the manager to put my books on their shelves, but tragically it’s more complicated than that. Big book stores don’t want to deal with random little indie authors – they have international best sellers to push. So where can we get our shelf space fix?
Good news for Wichita, Denver, Louisville, and Chico!
First of all, check out this article. Basically, there are a handful of indie book stores in the USA that have started programs that enable local self-published authors to sell their books in the stores. These stores operate mainly on “consignment” – meaning that you give the book store copies of your book for free, and if the books sell, the book store pays you back an agreed-upon price. So, if I were to bring in my made-up-on-the-spot book, Tuna on a Cloudy Day, that retails at $20, the book store would give me a set consignment rate (let’s say 50/50). My book would then go on the shelf for a limited time, and whenever a book is sold, I would get $10.
Some of the book stores listed in the article also have programs where you can do book signings, or they will help you create promotional materials for your book campaign, etc. My personal favourite is Lyon Books in Chico, California, which holds an annual Local Author Holiday Open House. They run ads in the newspaper featuring thumbnails of the local authors’ books and short blurbs, then get all the local authors together in the store for a huge book-signing event. How amazing does that sound?
Unfortunately, I don’t live in Wichita, Denver, Louisville, or Chico. This somewhat limits my options. I’ve tried the obvious Google search for book stores near my house that offer such a program for local authors, but all I got was an eHow article on How to Get a Self-Published Book Into Bookstores. Not very helpful, internet.
My “solution”, such as it is.
There is a self-publishing company called iUniverse. I signed with them and sent them a boatload of money back in April. Now, I don’t want to recommend them to anyone just yet, because I haven’t even gotten as far as the submitting my manuscript stage. More updates on that as the publishing process progresses. Anyway, they have this really neat program called the Indigo Chapters Publishing Package that is only available in Canada. It’s your basic self-publishing service – they edit your book, design the cover, format the interior, create print and eBook versions, and distribute them on all the major book-selling sites. However, there is the added bonus that they will put 8 copies of your book into a Chapters book store of your choice for 8 weeks. The best part is that, if the books sell, Chapters is obligated to re-stock the book so long as the 8 week period is in effect. This means that if you can generate enough interest in your book, Chapters will keep re-ordering even past the end of the 8 week period. Exciting stuff! I’ll let you know if it works 😄
Know any good indie book stores?
Obviously my “solution” only works if you live in Canada and have $2,999 to spare. Okay, I didn’t exactly have it to “spare”, but you get the point. Does anyone know of any local/indie book stores that offer programs like the ones I mentioned for self-published authors? It doesn’t have to be only for Canada – I’d love to know about any/all of them!
Also, does anyone know anything or have tips about getting your book into a physical book store? I’m sure at least one person in the big, wide world of WordPress has accomplished this feat!
And now for a change of pace – SpaceX!
Not technically on the topic of writing, but still noteworthy – SpaceX has successfully launched their first commercial spaceship. It’s unmanned, and is currently in orbit around Earth and preparing to dock with the International Space Station (ISS). Read about it here. Why am I so excited about this? Because NASA shut down the spaceshuttle program, and have been relying on Russian rockets (not the most reliable form of transportation) to get up to the ISS. SpaceX is the first private company in the world to launch their own rocket successfully. And they aren’t the only company doing it, either. I envision a future (hopefully within the next few decades), where space tourism will be a real thing. How awesome would it be to go up into space for a few hours and float around in zero G? If SpaceX succeeds, this could very well happen, hence my enthusiasm.
And for those of you who don’t want to read the article, here is my personal favourite tidbit from the very bottom:
“The rocket also blasted into orbit around the Earth the ashes of more than 300 people, including Mercury astronaut Gordon Cooper and actor James Doohan, who played Scotty on Star Trek. The ashes were in a section of the rocket that was jettisoned during the climb into space.”
That’s right, you can now send your ashes up into space to orbit the Earth for eternity, in the company of astronauts and Star Trek actors. Anyone else intrigued by this concept?