Is Bookstore Shelf Life A Thing

It is the age old dream/goal for many Self-Published Authors. To see their books on the shelves of Major Retailers. It is very common for Self-Published Authors to get onto Indie Bookshelves under Consignment, but what about Barnes & Nobles, Hastings, & Wal-Mart?

get book in bookstores

We all know it is not impossible for Self-Published Authors books to show up on these retailer’s store shelves, the question is how?

Let’s break it down a bit, shall we? Mainstream publishers spend thousands and thousands of dollars on four major areas of book publishing. Production, Marketing, Distribution, and Sales. These will be divided in to teams.

  • PRODUCTION TEAM: Production is the stage in which the manuscript first arrives to the editor of the publishing house. When a manuscript is selected and chosen for publication the company is saying to you we believe this book will sell thousands and thousands of books and you are marketable. That’s basically it in a nutshell, but to break this down even further. During this stage of publishing the manuscript is going through intense editing phases (not one round…not two rounds…but multiple rounds of developmental editing and copy-editing). While the editing is taking place the graphic designer is deciding on a design not only for the book cover, but overall as a whole for promotional material as well. At this stage, a plan is being drafted that will map out the course of the books first year.

  • MARKETING TEAM: Marketing is the stage where it’s decided on the best places, people, and ways to market the book to get the best results in exposure and sales. This can include booking TV Appearances, Radio Guest Spots, Blog Features, Magazine Appearances, Contest, Social Media Presence/Appearances, and a host of so much more. I know your book may suit everyone, anyone, from everywhere, but the truth of the matter is…that’s not true. LOL! Learn your target audience. Press Release, Media Kits, Flyers, Bookmarks, and other marketing strategies are all put in place. 

  • DISTRIBUTION TEAM: Distribution of course is detailing where you are going to distribute or display the book. Remember you must keep in mind your target audience. During this stage the team is finding all the many different places to house this book in the targeted audience’s environment. At this stage Press Kits are sent out to stores, media, bloggers, and whomever else that could help distribute this book. (i.g. A children’s book can be distributed to doctor’s office, elementary schools, and anywhere children will see the book).

  • SALES TEAM: Sales is the most important step. This is where with everything mapped out from above can determine how many books will be sold. In mainstream publishing, books are not Printed-On-Demand (POD). They are printed in Runs (Short- or Long-). What this means is a book may go several runs, but an initial run may be 20,000 copies printed when the book is first published. Depending on how well the book sells during its first Run will determine the number of copies printed the second Run and so forth. These printed up copies are not for the author, but have already been set to distribute to stores, libraries, and other program, as well as stocked in a warehouse for places like Wal-Mart, Barnes & Nobles, and many other bookstores.

This may not be an exact outline, but it’s a very close outline to what some Mainstream Publisher’s use to get the most out of their sales. You must have a clear plain in this business. Most of these publisher’s spend on average $30,000 or more in publicity and the publication of a really outstanding manuscript.

Now the most important part of this for Self-Published Authors is knowing where to go to get the best chance to hit the shelves. The first thing is deciding where to print your books. If you are an Indie Author, publishing with printers such KDP/Createspace will not get you on the stores shelf, but it will get in their database. A good printer for Indie Author would be IngramSpark or Lightning Source. These printer have a direct link to Ingram Content Group. The biggest downfall that most authors are unaware of is that having your book on bookstore shelves means you’ll take a HUGE loss in profits. The going rate is 55% off wholesale. You may profit less than $1 every time that book sells, but HEY your book is in stores and the hope is that someone will buy.

If you want your book in stores take the necessary steps to make the finished product its best and then go anywhere and everywhere to build up a following, because no one is going to want to stock you if no one will care to go to the store and buy it. BE PATIENT! HAVE FUN!

Learn different bookstore policies on getting books stocked on their shelves and follow the instructions. GOOD LUCK! HAPPY PUBLISHING!



Empowering the world to design

Launched in 2013, Canva is an online design and publishing tool with a mission to empower everyone in the world to design anything and publish anywhere. Create your flyers, social media post, and videos to help brand yourself using Canva. Start Using Canva Today!

Leave a comment

Item is added to cart