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Reluctant Artist
07-06-2009, 08:55 AM
This may be a question for those who have gone the self-pub route...Have your books appeared in bookstores? And I should specify: Barnes and Noble or Borders (or other large chain store), which ordered your book based on it being listed in a catalog.

The reason I ask is that several self-publishing outfits charge extra $$ so you can list your book as fully returnable. I'm wondering if it's worth paying for this service.

Also, does setting a high discount rate for bookstores make any difference in getting your book into a chain bookstore?

CatSlave
07-06-2009, 09:10 AM
Sounds like you might be in the clutches of PublishAmerica.

Read the threads under the Bewares and Background Checks forum.

Due to the hundreds of complaints and concerns, PA has earned their very own sub-forum.

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=115

Mumut
07-06-2009, 10:05 AM
In Australia I believe some book stores won't accept self-published books and some will put them on the shelves 'on spec'. I've a couple of friends who have self published and they do the rounds trying to get signings as a way to sell their books.

mercs
07-06-2009, 11:06 AM
Too expensive to be in bookstores. Seriously, I am working on prices at the minute for my effort, and as it's MG paperback, I wanted it around 6-7. After the production costs, the bit lulu takes and all that, I'd be making something like 70p out of the book! So I think others have just thought, let's chance it. They have books on there for nearly 20 and it's just a paperback!

Also, when you factor in the postage and packaging, the books are at least double the price of the "traditional" (i hate that word!) publishers copies, making them almost impossible to stock...

veinglory
07-06-2009, 06:39 PM
Short answer: no

Longer answer: Go into a bookstore and try to find one. In some stores with a friendly manager there might be a title or two on consignment, in most there will be none.

Reluctant Artist
07-06-2009, 07:17 PM
That's what I thought, ALTHOUGH iUniverse has a "rewards" program that helps promote the best of their books into stores. I've personally known of two local authors whose iUniverse-published books were offered at B& N. But, iUniverse pay is very very low. I'm considering lulu and createspace, the latter of which doesn't even pretend to get books into bookstores.
But ask yourself this: does anyone actually BROWSE amazon.com for a fiction book to read??

ChristineR
07-06-2009, 09:17 PM
A lot of bookstores have a local writers section. Some bookstores also specialize and might be willing to carry the one and only book about an obscure non-fiction topic so long as it fits their theme. All this assumes that the book is returnable and has a decent discount, otherwise it's only at the manager's discretion, and sometimes the manager doesn't even get to make the choice.

The iUniverse programs cost the author money and apparently only guarantee placement in one bookstore, and sometimes not even that. I once tried to make sense of their promotional programs and got nowhere, but the one thing that was clear was that no matter how much money you gave them, you were not guaranteed much.

ResearchGuy
07-06-2009, 09:26 PM
. . . The reason I ask is that several self-publishing outfits charge extra $$ so you can list your book as fully returnable. I'm wondering if it's worth paying for this service. . . .
What you are describing is probably not self-publishing, but some form of subsidy publishing (where the author pays a company to publish his/her book).

If you do not own the ISBN, issued in your own publishing company name, then it is NOT self-publishing.

See the free pdf The Pursuit of Publishing: An Unvarnished Guide for the Perplexed (http://www.umbachconsulting.com/pursuit.pdf) for an overview.

Some self-publishers (real ones, like Deer Valley Press) have national and international distribution through normal trade channels and direct from their own companies. Most folks have no idea whatsoever that those books were published by the authors. See Dan Poynter's Self-Publishing Manual to learn how it's done.

--Ken

Peachnuts
07-06-2009, 11:22 PM
I browse Amazon.com for a book to read ALL THE TIME. It's how I get my suggestions, especially through their Listmania section. So yes, I browse there frequently.

veinglory
07-06-2009, 11:30 PM
I browse Amazon, but their search engine isn't great for keyword browsing. I also get self-published books in my personal recommendations--but probably because I buy self-published books.

ResearchGuy
07-06-2009, 11:46 PM
I browse Amazon, but their search engine isn't great for keyword browsing. I also get self-published books in my personal recommendations--but probably because I buy self-published books.
The thing is, those that are published to professional standards are not identifiable as being published by the author. For example, you would not know that Deer Valley Press, whose books are sold worldwide and used in college courses and by firefighting agencies, is Bill Teie, the author and publisher of the books. (He is an authority on his topics.) Aeonix Publishing? That is Pete Masterson. Bridge House Books? That is Naida West. Para Publishing? That is Dan Poynter. Garden Wisdom Press? That is Carolyn Singer. Those are just a few I think of off the top of my head. You know there have to be many, many more.

--Ken

valeriec80
07-07-2009, 06:38 AM
I don't browse Amazon to buy books, but then I don't EVER buy a book if I haven't already read the author for free (usually through the library).

(Actually, that isn't true. I've bought several book without having read anything by the author. They were all collections of essays about television shows and or movies that I was a fan of. Still. It's not like I just read about them and then bought the books.)

For me, as a self-pubber of fiction, I really don't have very high expectations for book sales. I want to find readers, primarily, which is why I'm making my stuff available for free online. So, I've sold 13 copies of my book in about five days and I've sold 5 copies via Kindle. I'm definitely not anywhere near making a career out of this. :)

veinglory
07-07-2009, 06:43 AM
I always check who published a book before I buy it, but of course most readers wouldn't. I bet I could spot a self-published book more often than not ;) But what I meant is that I often see books from well known printers in my Amazon recs.

Nick Russell
07-07-2009, 06:46 PM
I use Lightning Source, and they are affiliated with Ingram, so my books are availabe to bookstores and are returnable. I have had people order them at Barnes & Noble and Borders. I have seen self-published local interest books at both chains.

jfreedan
07-07-2009, 09:37 PM
If you live in Texas, I've seen Hastings stores that have a "Local Authors" section at the front of the store. All of the books look self-published to me.

Reluctant Artist
07-08-2009, 02:28 AM
Nick- I will look at Lightening Source.

nkkingston
07-14-2009, 09:34 PM
There's a couple of self-pubbed books in my local Borders, but they're things like "Yorkshire Dalesmen in the Mississippi Valley". Non-fiction with a regional interest, basically (that wouldn't sell almost anywhere else!)

ResearchGuy
07-14-2009, 09:53 PM
There's a couple of self-pubbed books in my local Borders, but they're things like "Yorkshire Dalesmen in the Mississippi Valley". Non-fiction with a regional interest, basically (that wouldn't sell almost anywhere else!)
What you don't know is how many others were done so well as not to be identifiable as having been published by the author -- or by anything else than a small independent publishing company. (Published to high standards, in a business name that does not include the author's name, such as Garden Wisdom Press or Deer Valley Press or Great Little Book Company.) It is probably not a large number, in comparison to those published by recognizable commercial publishers, but could be more than you suspect. I have seen too many to think otherwise.

--Ken

nkkingston
07-14-2009, 10:01 PM
What you don't know is how many others were done so well as not to be identifiable as having been published by the author -- or by anything else than a small independent publishing company.

--Ken

Oh, I had to look up the company online to find out they were a vanity publisher anyway. They're based in York, so I was eyeing up sending a CV over, but they're a tiny operation.

The local bookshops, even the chains, are quite good about getting local authors and local interest books in (even some of not so brillaint print quality), but I imagine it takes a lot of work on the part of either the author or the publisher to make sure it actually happens. I think it helps that York is such a small, and touristy, city.

MickRooney
07-15-2009, 12:56 AM
Oh, I had to look up the company online to find out they were a vanity publisher anyway. They're based in York, so I was eyeing up sending a CV over, but they're a tiny operation.

nkkingston,

Is this the publisher you are referring to?

http://www.yps-publishing.co.uk/

nkkingston
07-15-2009, 01:22 AM
No, it was Sessions of York (http://www.sessionsofyork.co.uk/books/intro.html). They seem to be first and foremost a printer, though they talk about "sponsored and self publishing" under Books and Publications. I didn't realise there were multiple publishing services in York.

MickRooney
07-15-2009, 04:10 AM
If you are going the self publishing route then YPS are pretty reputable and offer a proper 'self publishing' service, meaning you can choose your own imprint name and they will sort a block of your own ISBN's for you. Download their PDF manual from their site and have a look. Very much an author solution service the way it should be done.

Adoro Book Works
07-24-2009, 05:12 PM
The presence of self-published or small press books in stores is a factor of committment of writer and/or publisher to getting them there. They don't go hunting for them, but can be sold on them if it makes any sense for them to carry the book.

Obviously the best chance is with books of a strong local or "niche" orientation. "Walking Guide to Malibu" "Literary History of Dorchester" "Cheapest Restaurants in Paris" are titles that might interest not only local bookstores but other outlets such as shops or hotel shops.

Your best bet is always the independent store. Many have "local author" bins or displays.

The single biggest factor is "returnability". The most definite expression of that would be the consignment deal.

8thSamurai
07-31-2009, 04:40 AM
I browse Amazon - for other works by writers I have purchased in the bookstore and already like, and for technical manuals.

Spending more money on a writer I've never heard of? Only if they're an expert in another field and have written a how - to book: building a backyard forge, care and feeding of 1920's lathes, for example. And then, I do a background check on the writer to make sure they actually are a vetted expert in the field.