For book/ebook authors, publishers, & self-publishers
I recently contacted 5 local bookstores and 3 have agreed to sell some of my books. One of them will take the book on consignment. Has anyone had any problems with this type of agreement...is there any other way? The other two stores are owned by friends so there isn't an issue.
The problem I have right now is that there is a potential for a consignment agreement which arose out of being selected for a book signing. Unfortunately owing to a huge miscommunication and internal politics I was dropped. However, when I went into the bookstore to pick up my books the manager allowed that they would be consigning in a couple of months and I could bring them back in. Their policy was fairly specific, and any unsold inventory will get sold somewhere else.
I have never had a problem with books left at bookstores on consignment. I had a problem with "me!"
Make sure you keep excellent records on where you left them, with whom, get a "signed" copy back that they were left, the amount of books, the price, their discount and your precentage with royalty; have all this on the paper they give you with the books left. Don't allow too much time to go by without checking back with what is left on the shelves. I'd say at least once a month.
That wasn't my problem. I got comfortable thinking the manager or owner kept good records on what had sold in sales. I'd come in after leaving five books and saw I sold two. Then they would want six more. The other title might have sold four and they wanted only two more. I'd leave without marking down the ones sold and the ones left. I might have left four on one title, three on the other, and then six on the next.
What I do now to make it easy, is to leave 5 books of one title (the same with multiple titles) and don't get a check for one title until all five books are sold. If they want more, I leave the same amount of "only" five more. The store owner loves this idea. Looking at the stock we know we started with five books and there is no confusion on how many sold. If I sold two of the other title, I don't collect until they are all gone and I don't leave any until they are. It's easy to get confused when you have more than one or two titles left on consignment.
Keep a good relationship with the owner or manager. Going by their store for an errand? stop by just to say "hello."
Thanks for your words of wisdom. I will call the bookstore that has my books today.
Have a good weekend, Alice D
Another think to keep in mind. Make copies of all the checks you get from the bookstore and bring them when you check on the other books so the manager doesn't say, "I thought we paid you for the last batch?" (when it's a new batch your looking to be paid for) or "Didn't we pay you for the last two?" Get ALL signatures that you left NEW books and that this is not the old batch. Serously, it doesn't sound like much to get books on consignment, but suddenly, you find the manager has no idea of what sold, and when you got paid. If you're not on top of it with "paperwork and signatures" you will lose money. It's happened to me and it was my fault of not keeping records.
Here's something to do when your book looks "too old" to stock. Lower your list price. It may or may not work depending on when the book was released, how long it has been "on the shelf" and other factors. In other words, ignore what the big 6 do because by now they don't know what they are doing. Lowering the list price creates the opportunity to sell more books because it becomes more affordable to the average reader. The bookstore is less likely to discount any further.
See, when I sell them, I don't lose more than the production cost, which amounts to very little per copy. When you consign them to a bookstore, they will take their cut and pay you the rest. This means your cost of production is covered and you receive the net. If they discount the price themselves they still have to pay you something. Working toward "breaking even" is the best way to get your books to readers in the interim even if you don't realize a huge profit.
The next week or so will be crucial to learning whether any of my books will pick up sales.
If you want to contact some great independent local booksellers, check out http://www.bookmarket.com/top700.htm
Still a good idea: If you want to contact some great independent local booksellers, check out http://www.bookmarket.com/top700.htm
Actually being new to self-publishing I was just taking a shot in the dark but I created my book, up-loaded it to Createspace, a division of Amazon, and it is listed there and on Amazon. It is POD, Print on Demand, so I didn't have to purchase any hard copies, although I did get 50 for my personal promotioin and use. I paid nothing to have this done because I created the book on their downloadable templates, both the inside pages and cover, front and back. They converted it into a PDF at no charge, gave me a ISBN at no charge. Except for the $25 I paid for their extended marketing plan, which was optional, I was out nothing.
I got my shipment of books this morning and I am quite pleased. It was every bit as good as my masters. My cost when I want to buy a book is only $2.15 each. I can live with that. Shipping was fast. I published my book on December 28th and my 50 copies were delivered on January 5th. With the New Year's Day holiday and one Sunday in that time frame, I think that all happened pretty fast. Hope this gives you some information and options.
I like self-publishing with CreateSpace, too. I took an old manuscript of mine and published it through them and loved the book, the end product, plus it's affordable!
As an aside, I had my books in two local bookstores here and they both closed down due to the economy! Not easy times for us writers or for anyone!
I have had no luck with CreateSpace and the distribution frame is faulty. For one thing, distribution only works for Amazon, and the other booksellers won't stock the book if it comes from Amazon. For another, what you pay for is not what you get, especially if you bought your own ISBNs. I found out quite by surprise that your own ISBNs make your books ineligible for distro to libraries. Only books with CS ISBNs make the grade. Yes, the end product looks great until you realize that the product was probably printed by Lightning Source. It was an expensive and costly move trying to distribute books through CS. Now I work with LSI and get distribution through Ingram, which is not concerned with limiting your books to a specific bookseller. Amazon and CreateSpace are closed systems. Get out of the rut and work with LSI.
I use CreateSpace and am now going to check out LSI. Thanks!