Frequently asked questions. Every industry has them and publishing is no different. Ambassador International has the pleasure of working with many new and upcoming authors as well as already-established authors who still need our assistance. Many of these authors come to us with lots of questions. Publishing your first book (or your 10th!) is exciting! There are many details to work out and decisions to make. This Publishing FAQ series covers questions Ambassador International receives regularly. Previously covered questions are:
- What is the best publishing option for me?
- Do I need an agent?
- Will I experience success if I get my book into stores?
- What else do you expect me to do?
- How does a distributor work?
- Endorsements: The 6 Ws
Will I Experience Success If I Get My Book Into Stores?
For many authors that is it, you have made it! Your book is on shelves at Barnes and Noble, everyone will see it and and big sales will happen. Getting in stores like Barnes and Noble is a great achievement, however, will your book take off just because it is Barnes and Noble? Sadly, just being in the bookstore and on shelves does not mean your book is sold or that it is going to sell.
The majority of retailers order on consignment or a sale/return bases, this eliminates the majority of risk for them on taking in a title and allows easy stock turnover. A Barnes and Noble contact shared with me that BN stores only carry around 2% of any given titles published in a year. This makes retail shelf space highly competitive and for many chain store corporate offices they need to see a product generate a certain level of revenue per spot or they’ll box it up and return it to the publisher.
Marketing and Retail
As an author you need to think about your marketing and retail. Amazon.com is the largest book seller in the world. If you struggle to push contacts and sales through online retail then you need to figure physical retail is going to be harder as it requires a greater level of commitment for someone to respond to your call to action. You need to have the platform, market recognition, title demand and ability to push the sales along with the publisher or it may hurt the title more than help it.
The benefit of a traditional publisher is that they can help you scale retail in the appropriate way.