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JosephR
02-19-2008, 07:58 PM
A woman in the Cleveland, OH area was featured in the Cleveland Plain Dealer today. The story was about her affiliation with the Cleveland Clinic and how they apparently released her because of writing a kind of tell-all, behind-the-scenes book, which she self published. On her Web site (http://chasewunderlickpublishers.com.cn/Home_Page.php), she notes that she has a local bookstore signing coming up in March 2008, and under “Ordering Information” it states that her book, which was released in January 2008, will be available in bookstores in February 2008. The book’s listing on Amazon.com today was 11,655. Very respectable for a recently released book, and a self-published one to boot. (Yes, I realize this is not a true measure of a book’s success, but an agent once told me that agents do look at this figure.) After today’s newspaper story, I suspect the book’s ranking will go even higher. So, my question is this: As a self-published author, how was she able to get her book into bookstores so quickly?

victoriastrauss
02-20-2008, 07:07 PM
"Available in bookstores" doesn't necessarily mean "stocked in bookstores"--often, it just means that the book can be special-ordered by bookstores on customer request (which is a benefit you can get through nearly any POD self-pub service that uses Lightning Source).

The book now shows up as "out of stock" at Amazon.

- Victoria

JosephR
02-20-2008, 07:45 PM
Thanks, Victoria. Now that makes perfect sense.

ResearchGuy
02-20-2008, 07:46 PM
. . . a local bookstore signing . . .

So, my question is this: As a self-published author, how was she able to get her book into bookstores so quickly?
A bookstore, not "bookstores."

It is not that hard if the book has local appeal and the author/publisher deals with the bookstore's buyer. Two days ago I delivered 100 copies of a book I very recently published (an anthology of stories by local mystery writers, mostly amateurs) to a local major chain bookstore. The store will host a signing next month and is promoting the event. The editors and authors are also promoting the event, so it could have a pretty decent turnout.

I do not expect to see the book on other bookstore shelves other than those where I place the books myself (on consignment in some independent stores, or normal sale to be billed to corporate for the chain store).

I'd suspect something similar in the case you describe.

BTW, I have seen locally self-published books similarly featured. If the author/publisher is professional about it and has local appeal, bookstores (individually, not across the board) will be interested.

FWIW.

--Ken

JosephR
02-20-2008, 11:42 PM
Thanks, Ken. Your and Victoria’s comments make it clearer what is probably happening in this situation. I thought maybe this author had some secret way of getting her book into bookstores. I agree that it'll probably be stocked locally only, not nationwide, or "available" at bookstores (i.e., it can be special ordered). I went back and read the newspaper article thoroughly, and she says that she has sold approximately 1000 books since January through Amazon.com and other outlets. The book’s ranking on Amazon.com is now around 250; it was around 11,500 just yesterday. It’s a testament to what publicity can do for sales. In any event, I’m always curious when an author, especially someone who self-publishes, experiences such seemingly rapid success. Thanks for your input.

ResearchGuy
02-21-2008, 12:51 AM
. . . she says that she has sold approximately 1000 books since January through Amazon.com and other outlets. . . .
THAT is impressive. She must be doing a lot of things right.

--Ken

veinglory
02-21-2008, 03:27 AM
Assuming that approximately isn't plus or minus 90%. That amazon rank could be about 3 sales within a week.

jamiehall
02-23-2008, 08:54 AM
I went back and read the newspaper article thoroughly, and she says that she has sold approximately 1000 books since January through Amazon.com and other outlets. The book’s ranking on Amazon.com is now around 250; it was around 11,500 just yesterday. It’s a testament to what publicity can do for sales. In any event, I’m always curious when an author, especially someone who self-publishes, experiences such seemingly rapid success. Thanks for your input.

That's amazing. It took me three years to closely approach 1,000 copies.


Assuming that approximately isn't plus or minus 90%. That amazon rank could be about 3 sales within a week.

True. Amazon is always changing its algorithm for figuring sales rank, and it has always tried to make the procedure mysterious.

IceCreamEmpress
02-23-2008, 09:15 AM
The book’s listing on Amazon.com today was 11,655. Very respectable for a recently released book, and a self-published one to boot.

A quick burst of sales can temporarily drive your Amazon ranking way up (like, the quick burst of sales you get after your hometown newspaper profiles you).

Check back in a week or two and see where she is.

On the other hand, I imagine it's a book of considerable local interest. Good for her (except the part about losing her job :( )

JosephR
02-25-2008, 11:33 PM
Thanks to all of you for your comments. I agree that the Amazon rank is artificially inflated due to, as noted, recent local interest. I'll be interested to see where the book stands a month or even a year from now. A psychologist I know self-published a NF book for parents about a year and a half ago and it's ranked at around 216,000, and he says that he's sold a bit over 3000 through different outlets. Of course, he's been on the radio and has had some luck with getting reviews, plus the book is well-written and is as professional looking as anything you'd find in a bookstore.

victoriastrauss
02-26-2008, 04:54 AM
Plus, he may be able to offer it to his patients, or to his audiences when (if) he does speaking engagements, or sell it through professional associations to which he belongs. That's a situation in which it can make sense to self-publish: when you can use "back of the room" situations to directly reach your audience.

- Victoria

JNLister
02-26-2008, 05:11 AM
The general rule of thumb seems to be that, unless a book is consistently in the top 10,000 or so, the Amazon sales rank is more a measure of how long it's been since your last sale than it is of total sales.

jawar
03-05-2008, 07:39 PM
While it is great to have your book available in bookstores it is even greater to have people actually buy it. It has been my experience that most independent authors/writers sell more books at speaking engagements, through their websites and special programs than they do through traditional chain bookstores.

Having your book sold through major chain bookstores is great for bragging rights, but once you get passed the hype you'll find bragging to the bank is a much better feeling. ;)

In any event if the demand for a book is increased bookstores will find the publisher and put forth the best effort to stock it. It has happened to me even when my book didn't have a price on the back of it and the major chain bookstore told me they could not stock the book because of it not having a price printed on the back. The point is to create a true demand for your book and you'll see increased sells at various retail points.

For more info on self publishing please click here (http://www.selfpublishforprofit.blogspot.com).

DeleyanLee
03-05-2008, 08:26 PM
I used to work for a small New Age publisher back at the turn of the century. The owner's story is something of an inspiration if you're into self-publishing, but I sure don't want to have to do what he did.

He wrote a manual for a New Age healing technique back in the 80's, I believe. Started publishing it (bound xerox copies) and gave it to his students who, in time, became teachers in their own right and wanted copies to give to their students. By the early 90's, he had enough teachers buying the manual that he could afford to have them professionally printed (smaller than trade, larger than MMP) and hired an illustrator. It was very high quality, very nice, and business boomed.

By the time I joined his staff (I was one of the first outsiders he hired full time), his small press company was selling five manuals he wrote, but also a host of complimentary things teachers could use, had a properous mail-order business (as in more than $1,000,000USD gross annually) and became a real business, publishing other people's books, etc.

From time to time, bookstores in the US & Canada would call and special order the book. Then we got in on Amazon sales, which wasn't much but it was something. Personally, I think he was getting rooked on the contract he agreed to, but that was his decision.

After almost 17 years of self-promotion being his entire life, giving classes and lectures all over the world, becoming a big fish in this little New Age pond, and establishing an almost $2 million annual business--all on his own--Ingrams finally agreed to distribute ONE of his books.

At that point, he told me that he had finally made it as an author and as a publisher.

Getting real distribution as a self-pub is HARD. It can happen--I've personally seen it happen--but just be aware that when most authors are talking about it, they're not talking about the same thing that the big publishing houses are. Self-published is true--it's all on the author, totally.

JosephR
03-05-2008, 09:48 PM
Thank you all for your insights. I've not attempted to self-publish yet, but I do consider it to be an option. I have a full nonfiction manuscript out to an agent, but cannot place all my eggs in one basket. I do personally know a few people who have self-published (nonfiction only) and are reasonably successful at it. They are professionals in their field, but make time to promote their work in small ways (e.g., giving talks in the community, getting reviews with the smaller community newspapers who are always looking for copy rather than the majors who will only do reviews on books from known publishers), and as you say DeleyanLee, they understand that it all falls on them...totally.

ResearchGuy
03-05-2008, 11:53 PM
. . .Ingrams finally agreed to distribute ONE of his books. . . .
Ingram is a wholesaler, not a distributor. See http://www.authorsandspeakersnetwork.com/erickampmann.html for a brief explanation of the difference.

--Ken