View Full Version : Selling short stories in booklet form - help!

Death Bean
11-06-2007, 04:21 PM
I want to sell short stories in the form of little booklets, but I'm stumped for ideas as to how. My mum suggested eBay - I thought potential readers might think it's a lot of bother for a tiny home-printed booklet that I only plan to flog for about 50p. I thought about asking a train station and a post office about maybe putting up a stand, like a leaflet stand (train stations being ideal 'cause people might want flash fiction to read on the train, and a stand right there might encourage impulse buying), but Mother (in her infinite wisdom) said they'd probably hate the idea of the money going to someone else.

Going around on the streets with a box was an idea, but this might present some trouble with the law - please help, I don't want to sell them electronically as ebooks, I want something physical people can hold. I'm old-fashioned like that. ;) Any thoughts??

11-06-2007, 04:30 PM
I know a poet in Toronto who makes a killing selling chapbooks on the street. I don't know about the laws and if he is constantly running from the police, but he takes to the streets and sells these suckers by the hundreds every year. I would have to think he's quite famous for doing so too...or infamous. I'm sure if Toronto readers stumble upon this post they will even know who I am talking about. He's a very cool well known guy. Anyway...sell on the street. Or find open mic places do readings and sell at those. Good luck.

Death Bean
11-06-2007, 04:36 PM
That's great... nice to know I'm not the only one to seriously think about that! Thanks, KTC. :)

11-06-2007, 05:06 PM
Chapbooks are one thing -- lots of poets do that -- but I don't know who would buy a little book of self-printed stories without knowing you or your work, even for $1. I like Kevin's idea of selling them at an open mic event.

11-06-2007, 08:53 PM
I don't know how well a fiction chapbook would sell.....never heard of anyone trying the concept. In the late 1980's, though, I did a poetry chapbook and did fairly well from the sales. I asked gift shops, book shops, speciality shops, etc. if they would carry some and most did, a few wanted a percentage, many just sold them and kept track for me. I also sold them at writer's events, big jumble sales, etc.

11-06-2007, 08:57 PM
I don't see why they would have less merit than poetry, actually. Just because it's not common doesn't mean it won't work. More people read prose than poetry. And I made over $1000 from poetry chapbooks last year alone...selling them mostly at open mics. If you have a venue where you can read your words and the audience wants to read more...they'll sell. I say give it a go. Prose is bound to be more successful than poetry.

11-06-2007, 10:18 PM
To be honest, I don't think you'd have very much success selling them on the street. Also, you'd have to be in the right kind of neighborhood, where you'd have to compete with all the other people trying to sell books/artwork/jewelery that way.

The other day, this half homeless lady was walking around trying to sell her booklet of poems, and a couple people looked at it, but refused to make a donation, even. Sounds like open mic is the way to go. Of course, you could also just try submitting to magazines. Or make your own website that accepts donations?

Dustry Joe
12-20-2007, 09:39 PM
Having done something similar, I'd say. Yeah, readings are good. Carry your book around and always have it visible. Get some publicity from your local paper.

Here's something that REALLY helps. Have several books, visually thematic (Even it's just same color cover and typeface). Your own or somebody else's as well. I'd say 4 titles is your minimum here. Easily displayed in a little stand. I've used everything from a cut-down cardboard box to a wood display with an "engraved" "brass" plate.

Having a "line" with display ups your chances with stores a hundredfold. This is how City Lights Books in San Francisco started. It grew into a bookstore and a prestigious line of books that first published Ginsberg and many of the beats. Suddenly you're a local publisher.

Which, in fact you are. And thus more worthy of attention.

Good luck.

12-20-2007, 09:57 PM
The other day, this half homeless lady was...Was it her?


Maryn, unable to resist a perfect set-up

12-21-2007, 03:58 AM

The other day, this half homeless lady was walking around trying to sell her booklet of poemsQUOTE]

HALF-homeless? Dude, you either have a home or you don't!!!:D

Dustry Joe
12-22-2007, 08:24 AM
Ok, ok, so he meant homeless half-lady. Let's not nitpick. :-)