Marketing your book as an unknown author can be a challenge, to say the least. Self-publishers generally do not have the contacts or clout to maneuver their books into major book selling channels. Yet there are many other avenues to get your book recognized by—and sold to—potential readers.
You know your book best, and selling your book yourself is the most practical way to get the book in front of your audience. Where do they shop? What do they like to do? How can you contact them?
Self-publishing is an investment in your idea or story. A short run of 50-100 review copies might be a good start to distribute free in order to generate buzz. You can reprint the book later at higher quantities when sales take off, keeping the per-book costs low.
Some authors deal with subject matter that has a small field of interest or niche market. These books are sometimes easier to sell because it is simpler to identify the market. For example, a book on birds in Western Washington might be promoted with greater success sending out flyers or postcards to bird clubs than trying to work through a mass-market bookstore.
Approach your local bookstores to see if they will stock and sell your book. Local bookstores usually require a 40-50% discount, so price your book accordingly. For a list of independent bookstores in your area or in a specific zip code, visit IndieBound.org.
Many bookstores prefer to buy from distributors and warehouses such as Ingram, Baker & Taylor, or IPG. A distributor’s fee is usually 10-20% on top of the bookstore percentage. For a list of other distributors, see LiteraryMarketplace.com.
Amazon Advantage: This program allows your book to be purchased directly from an Amazon sales page. Amazon requires a 55% discount from your established retail price, plus a $99 annual fee. You pay all packaging and shipping costs to send to Amazon warehouse, plus relabeling fees.
Fulfillment by Amazon: For extra fees, Amazon stores the merchandise, relabels the books to conform to their system, handles customer service, and ships the items to the buyer. We can facilitate a split shipment to Amazon. For each of these programs, you would be responsible for setup and communication with Amazon.
Professional account — $39.99/month + per-item referral fees & variable closing fees.
Individual account — $0.99 per item + per-item referral fees & variable closing fees.