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Hi Everyone!

In the next couple of days I'm planning to contact my local bookstores to market by novel, Blessings of Purpose. However, I'm not sure whether to focus on getting scheduled for a book signing or getting them to stock my book, first. Or is it a given that if they agree to a book signing they will stock the book?

Any advice on how to approach bookstore managers/owners is welcomed! Thanks!

Alicia Hill Jones

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well, your biggest problem right off the top is going to be whether your book is returnable or not - that means that if they order books from your publisher they can return them for a credit or refund usually within 90 days. This allows the stores to send back books that don't sell and clear them from the shelves.

if your book is *not* returnable, then you'll probably have to place them on consignment.

another factor is how much of a discount your publisher will give the bookstores. 40% is the normal discount, allowing them to make a profit. Less than that, like the pathetic 5% PublishAmerica is rumored to give, and bookstores won't touch it. Again, you'll probably have to place them on consignment.

your best bet in any case is to approach the manager with a small media kit consisting of information about you, your book and your publisher. Don't bother them during busy times and be polite - I just received feedback from one bookstore manager who had been literally harassed by an author during a Saturday busy time - *not* the best way to make an impression. Be polite, nice and explore all possibilities with them. If you can't attend in person send the information through the mail and be patient.

they may allow you to do a booksigning with your books on consignment in either case - but it's a lot easier if they order them, obviously!

good luck!!!
From my experience one of the best ways to do this is make a call to those stores in your local market. They are very receptive in most cases.

Kathleen Gage
The Street Smarts Marketer
Just introduce yourself as a local author and ask if they participate in any local author events. I felt that was a nice way to break the ice when I went into Borders and received a warm welcome because of it.

If you get a signing its not neccessarily a given that they stock the book; you might need to supply some. But even if you do have to bring your own, thats not always bad. They'll pay you for whatever sells, though not always right away, and if you should happen to run out and they see you're doing well, they might order more for you.

In my case, I received an email from the General Manager telling me they were going to order my book and then contact me to fit me into their November calander for a signing! Except yesterday, about a week later, the sales manager emailed me and said she ordered a few copies for the shelf but the signing would have to wait until after Christmas. I was a little bummed about that but kept my chin up because 1, they have some of my books on the shelf or at least will when the order comes in, and 2, they didn't turn me down for a signing~ there was just some technical reason why they had to wait.

Best of luck to you!
Ask your publisher if they do Event Agreement with their authors. We do that so that the authors are able to walk into bookstores in their local area and present the manager or buyer with a complete media kit, copy of the book, and a copy of our return policy as well as bulk order policy. Whereas the local buyer/manager may not have the authority to pre-order for an unestablished author's book signing, our authors are assured of having an adequate supply of books and promo materials. Then, after the event, they send us the proceeds, and their royalties are simply added to their quarterly statement.

That way, everyone is happy: the booksellers don't have a ton of prep to do, don't have to pre-order an unknown author's books, have advertising and promo materials supplied for them in advance, etc. and the author doesn't have to lay out a bunch of cash upfront.



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