Talking the Talk with Book Retailers
Picture this: You are walking around your local book store and something catches your eye – it’s your Dorrance-published book on display for anyone to buy!
What are the steps that might help to make this dream a reality? This week, we’re offering some advice that might help you get your book on a store’s shelf.
One note, before we begin: Most books do not get stocked in a bookstore. Following this advice does not guarantee that your book will be stocked; however, these are some of our recommendations to give your book the best chance of being on a bookstore’s shelves.
Ideally, the relationship with your local bookstore should begin long before your book is published. Familiarize yourself with the store, the types of books it stocks, the demographics of its shoppers, etc. Consider it an important part of the research process for promoting your book.
When you’re ready, introducing yourself as a local author to the store’s manager – or the person responsible for stocking inventory – is the critical first step in the process. First impressions leave lasting impressions, so come prepared with your elevator pitch in mind for talking points that you can refer to during the conversation. Sell yourself and your book as a valuable asset to the store, but remember not to be overly pushy.
Don’t forget about building relationships with the sales associates, as well. Although they may not be the decision makers, they are, for the most part, readers, so they could potentially be the deciding factor in whether your book collects cobwebs or collects a check.
Once you’ve built the relationship, there are some additional points to remember when working with retailers:
- Always remember to bring along a leave behind. This can be anything ranging from a business card to a professional-looking flyer. No matter what it is, always make sure that it includes your name and contact information, your book title, the ISBN (found on the back of your book above the barcode), and your publisher’s name (Dorrance Publishing) and contact information.
- Become familiar with some other book titles that are currently being sold in their store that are similar to your book. This is a great way to show that you’re knowledgeable about their store and its focus. It may even spark their interest to consider where your book could also be placed in the store.
- Show your manners. Be polite and professional at all times, even if a bookseller says no. Although one door might have closed, you never know when one could open. By making a positive impression, they will keep you in mind for future events and opportunities at their bookstore.
- If they’re interested in stocking your book, don’t forget to offer to hold a signing session or other event, and to publicize it across your social media profiles and blog. Added press for the bookseller!
These are just a few tips to keep in mind when contacting your local book retailer. As always, remember that you have to believe in yourself before anyone else can believe in you and your book.
Happy promoting everyone!