The finish line is in sight! For the writing phase, that is.
My cover is completed, the text is formatted, and we are almost ready for printing my first book. Now that the writing is done, I'm facing the next hurdle - getting my book 'out there'. I'm reaching out for some advice.
A bit of background. My book is nonfiction and has a very specific audience. I am a retired teacher with a doctorate in education. For many years, I led groups of gifted students to a small island, also a state park, on the coast of Georgia where we studied the unique ecosystems there - maritime forest, salt marsh and beach. We also learned about the fascinating history of this island. I'm now a part-time resident there with a small condo that we rent to cover expenses. The island is in the middle of a revitalization with a new convention center and new hotels being built, all under limitations that require that 65% of the island remain undeveloped.
I have written a guide for families visiting there. It has guided walks through the forest, marsh, and along the beach and includes cross-curricular learning activities. There are chapters on birding and biking the island, as well as about the history.
My plans include a trip there in late September with my newly printed books in hand to call upon the small independent bookstore on the island as well as those in nearby towns. I am going to visit all the gift shops and hotels to try to get my book included in their stores.
I will contact local papers and magazines, as well as the local library.
I'm going to contact my local independent bookstores around the town where I actually live and hope to get a few copies in those, too.
I published independently, creating my own publishing company, hiring a cover designer and am having the printing done myself. So far, so good! But now I need some advice.
My questions are:
1. I want to sell on Amazon but prefer fulfilling orders myself. I don't think I'll have huge sales, and from what I have read, I would make more per book sold if I mail out orders instead of letting Amazon do it. Is that correct? Any other Amazon selling tips?
2. I've set up a website but know nothing about getting my book/site ranked higher in searches. Any suggestions?
3. I'd like to try a blog, something I've never done, mainly about the island but perhaps touching on other things as well. Where are the best sites to consider for this?
4. In general, what's involved in getting your book into an independent bookstore? Is it done on a consignment basis? What percentages are usually involved for the store and author?
5. With this type of book, would it be wise to publish as an ebook? I realize my audience is mostly limited to visitors to the island. I'm not sure if the ebook format would be beneficial for me or not.
6. What else do I need to know before venturing into the unknown world of selling my book?
So glad to have found this site! Thank you in advance for any advice!! It's an exciting prospect but quite daunting as well.
Thanks, Ariel. I thought Createspace was used for actual publishing. I'm having that done elsewhere - I was nervous about not being able to go to a bricks and mortar business and actually see the paper my book will be printed on and be able to talk with someone face to face. I'd like to speak with Mr. McSchuster, if you have a contact number. Thank you!
Hi, Jody. I'm about to publish my first novel (Until Proven. Look for it in October, please!) so I'll learn along with you as more experienced people respond. Some independent bookstores put their requirements for carrying independently published books on their website so look for that. The ones I'm familiar with sell on consignment, with 60% going to the author and the store keeping 40%. You'll certainly need to check with the specific stores.
Your island sounds lovely, like a place I'd like to visit--before that convention center gets going. I'm guessing the redevelopment causes a lot of chat.
Anyway, as you're placing your book, don't forget the Chamber of Commerce and local realtors who handle both sales and rentals. We rent at a beach in NC every summer and when we pick up our keys, we get a packet with coupons to local restaurants and other little freebees. A notice about your book and where it can be purchased (in the realtor's office for starts) would be ideal in that packet. And those new hotels will certainly stock it in their gift shops. And the tee shirt shops and souvenir shops--everywhere, in other words.
Be sure all of those former students know about the book. They'll want to buy it! I bet most of them are on Facebook. I'm excited for you.
Good for you, Nora!! I admire fiction writers!
The chamber of commerce for the county is an excellent idea! I'll add it to my places to visit in September. We rent our condo through a realty company on the island and I know the staff at the second one there, so I definitely should be able to do that. I also think I'll print bookmarks or flyers with my website info and leave those in places where putting an actual book wouldn't be practical. I'm definitely going to do Facebook. I'm friends with lots of my former students.
Thanks for your excellent ideas! Good luck with your novel!!
Haven't been on SheWrites in almost 4 months, so I didn't see your request. You're probably already out there, but I wanted to add my two cents. I went with BookLocker.com with my first book, Diary of a Vet's Wife, Loving and LIving with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and I LOVE THEM. The price is excellent, if you're willing to do most of your own work and they don't shove extras down your throat. The author percentage is good. Higher than most, plus they do distribution, putt on Amazon, plus many, many other including B&N. I was a professional Senior Buyer in aerospace and electronics, so I know value. Only thing, they do email ONLY. It's great and you have a paper trail of all convos and it saves valuable time. They also do the ebook, and list you with INGRAM. Only thing, ebook is not availble internationally. Check out their website for all the detailed information. You'll be pleasantly surprised.
I'm waiting for the galley now, which should arrive any day. Then I'll make the announcement the book is available. Oh, the only thing . . . ebooks are not available internationally. Any questions let me know. I'm posting my new blog below with contact info . . . :)
I should have updated my post before now, but since my book came out in September, it has been a busy time. Thankfully, it's been a wonderfully good busy!
My book is now in ten shops and museums on Jekyll Island and St. Simon's Island, and I'm on my second printing. The reception it has received has been so rewarding as this was a creation of love for this island.
Some stores have put it in on consignment but the majority have purchased copies outright, all for the 40%/60% split that was mentioned here. Tomorrow I am a vendor at the Georgia Literary Festival that's being held right on my island, and I'm hoping for a successful day.
On November 24 I have a book signing at the island's bookstore so my fingers are crossed for that day, too.
I'm already at work on my second book. This one is aimed at elementary children and will be about the barrier islands of Georgia, though it will present the information in a fiction format. This will involve hiring an illustrator since I'm definitely not an artist. I'm also in the process of putting together a CD of acoustic guitar music to include along with educational activities based around the book and the music.
I want to shop around for perhaps a lower price this time around. The company I used did a fantastic job though.
I decided not to go on Amazon. I had several reasons for the decision but the main one was that this was such a specialized book. I felt getting it in shops here on the island was the best route to go, and so far, it's been a good decision. I may try Amazon in the future.
This has been such a learning experience, and all the advice here has been so helpful. It's been a challenging and fun experience!
Here are a few pics of the booth I set up today at the Lit Festival. That's been a learning experience, too!