Yes, there is a key to getting into bookstores. It helps to have a distributor to sell your book to the bookstores. There are many distributors from which to choose. Check the Literary Marketplace (LMP, for short) for distributors. The LMP is available at most public libraries.
Be prepared to pay a hefty price to have the distributor sell your book to the stores, however. Most distributors require a 70% discount from the list price. The discount pays the distributor to sell, warehouse, ship, invoice and collect the money for your book. On a typical $20 book, for example, the distributor buys your book for $6. Expect to receive payment in 120 days from when you ship the books to the distributor.
There is one more thing to consider. The ugly secret of the publishing industry is book returns. Bookstores can return books to the distributor for a full refund at any time; no reason necessary. Returned books are deducted from your payment. Returns range from 15%-45% of books sold, depending on a book's genre and popularity.
Since I self-published my title; the biggest headache has been marketing. I call what I write gothic fantasy for lack of a better genre. It isn't quite dark enough for the horror crowd and is very heavy on metaphor and mood.
The best example would be the very brief excerpt that I posted here on my blog. Without a target audience I haven't been able to interest many readers in this series. The concept was to weave the Divine Comedies around a modern fantasy. I believe in the books enough to continue on with little in the way of sales.
Don't loose faith in your book. Look for ways to get notice and drop your business cards off anywhere you can think of. Have you asked the libraries to let you sign or book read? Did you call your local newspaper to do a write up about you and the book. Look up sites with fantasy and ask other authors what they do.
No, I won't lose faith or give up on the book. I did try the local paper and even knew the editor but fantasy and horror are not popular topics in this area and that ended the interview. This is a town with a sign by one church- HARRY POTTER- TOOL OF THE DEVIL. My best bet is your second suggestion and that is to mingle more on fantasy sites. I have been attempting that on Xanga, MYSPACE, BLOGGER and live Journal. I probably need to expand that further. I thank you very much for your reply
It's been two years since my book was published. It's A Healing Heart; A Spiritual Renewal. I've promoted and promoted. Now I had a Catholic Woman's Ministry call "me" to speak to 150 women and a priest (tomorrow 2/7/09) at the Providence Marriott Hotel. I have to talk for 45 minutes on my spiritual changes.
They will then tape my speech and offer it to their members there and other locations in the US including Internationally. I will be allowed to book sign.
I had to attend the breakfast events for over a year to get noticed. They already want me next year to talk about my next book with the sequel. Both are about losing my husband in 1985 from alcoholism and the sequel (2006) my daughter died from the same. I'm talking in rehabs and other locations.
So, you do the same. By magazines that have fantasy in them. Dig into it. We have to find our audiences. I'm hoping this talk opens doors for me in the Christian locations.
It truly is a matter of faith. Both secular and religious. By that I mean you have to believe in yourself, your writing and your message. I'm going to amazon to purchase your book. I was a raging alcoholic and substance abuser for thirty-three years. For me the question that has always plagued me is the whys and hows of my survival when so many people I knew and cared for didn't survive. And yes I'm working on connections every day now. I am going to make this book a success; mayhaps a moderate one but goals should be kept in reach.
My next two books are Someone Stop This Merry-Go-Round; An Alcoholic Family in Crisis (about my husband's drinking and his death in 1985) the sequel Please, God, Not Two; This Killer Called Alcoholism (about my daughter's death in 2006 from this demon)
I sent a query letter to an agent and waiting the 3 weeks for a reply (her statement). If not, I'll self-publish.
I'm the last one to give advice but don't give up after only one agent. Also some agents aren't ligit so PLEASE use one of the online services to check out any agent you send a query. Preditors and Editors is one such online service. I came real close to being scammed once. Things to ask about are photocopying charges, hidden fees, client list, Please be careful and research any agent very carefully.
I think the hardest thing or at least one of the more daunting aspects that the writer faces is when to let go of the work... when is it finished... and everyone who writes their first book (or at least it was that way for me) always thinks its going to be a best seller
That is the first step in becoming a real writer... you realize that the chances of your work being a best seller are so slim... but it doesn't change the fact that you breathe a soul into your work... that you have a message or story... Even best selling writers have had to know failure or perhaps better rephrased as saying it wasn't a walk in the park to get published and known. I think it is very rare that one gets instant gratification....
Many years ago the CEO of a major publishing house was asked: "What makes a best seller?"
Without missing a beat he simply replied: "Word of mouth."
I've always felt there was a great deal of truth in those words. He explained further that they honestly didn't know why the public makes one author a huge success while ignoring some others. I know two authors who signed with major houses. Both toured in support of their books. In my humble opinion both are excellent writers. One has done quite well but the other hasn't met with the same success.