So you want to publish a book: distribution and website
This series was originally posted in 2008
It’s never too early to think about how you’re going to reach your audience. Don’t think for a second: “If I write it, they will read.”
Getting your book into stores isn’t easy. The big guys in the publishing industry have whole teams working the big chains constantly to get their product placed prominently in stores. As a self-publisher you’ll have to do a lot of leg work to get your book on the shelf. And even then you’ll probably find that your book will be lost in the tide of a an literary ocean as the big box stores have millions of other titles.
Additionally, you may find yourself faced with huge orders only to have those same books returned to you three months later, dog-eared and unsuitable for resale.
As luck would have it, in addition to being a fantastic editor, Don Bastian also runs a small imprint and we were able to negotiate a fair deal for distribution in Canada. Where he takes on the leg work of retail promotion and distribution.
But if you don’t have a distributor for your book, you can still send out copies to reviewers, library magazines and direct folks to a web site.
The model for distributing books has been the same for hundreds of years. Authors write a book, sell that book to a publisher, who then gets that book into bookstores.
This really made a lot of publishers and bookstores very rich. But for a small author trying to break into the racket, you may find that you’re just not worth the effort for these guys. But the internet has chnaged things. It’s easy to get your book into the online booksellers. But the real way for a small author to achieve the maximum return on investment is to build a web site with an ecommerce component and sell the book online.
With Moose, I hired a fellow from Pakistan to do the work. The result is mooseonthetable.com.
If you visit the site, you’ll notice we’re selling the book through our site as e-book and audiobook. Both these methods are great opportunities to reach an audience online and save money on production at the save time.
The website is a great way to provide information about your book and you can make it as interactive as you want. Websites are also great because you’re not just releasing your book to a domestic audience. You have the potential to sell to anywhere in the world. Think about it. A person in Toronto can download an ebook or audiobook as easily as someone in New York, London or Dublin! How’s that for a distribution channel?