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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.

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Kristy
I did not know that you had to buy a barcode, I thought the publisher did that
when the book was published.
Hi Cindy,
Even through distributors, bookstores stock books on consignment. We've even had to pay the shipping costs.

If you have a contract that clearly states the terms and conditions - including the percentage they will keep, and when you'll be paid for your book sales, you should be okay. The other thing to discuss is your book's placement. Will it be in a good traffic area or buried on a shelf? In the larger stores, their corporate staff determines where the books are displayed. Many publishers also pay for shelf space. The publishers usually take all the risk.

Lastly, you will need a good local marketing and PR campaign to help drive traffic to the bookstores. They may help with a press release for a book signing or emailing their subscriber list, however, the heavy lifting is left up to the authors. I'd concentrate with an online book marketing campaign for better results.

Hope this was helpful.

All the best,
Michael
http://www.proauthors.com
Not only does the publisher require a cut to pay for the things already mentioned, but also any retailer will want a slice too. Ebook marketing can slash slim profits quickly as they decide how big a slice they want, when to cut the price (especially new authors), or dump it all together. Anyone who really thinks they are going to get rich writing books needs a reality check. It can happen of course, but not often. Enjoy your craft. Get what you can and keep writing.
I agree, Margie. I started writing because I had a story to tell. It's corny, but it's true. The story turned into an outline, the outline into a manuscript and finally, after months of rejections, the manuscript into a contract from a small publisher. My book was just released in July, but I'm not running out to quit my day job. No matter what I make from it, it's more than I had before I started. If the series catches on, great; if not, I'm still having fun writing about the characters and the mysteries they get involved with.
I have to agree with Richard here. There is a stigma out there about self-published books that works against the author. You can have the next bestseller, but bookstores will be reluctant to carry it if they can't get it through their regular wholesale sources. Stay with it and send out those queries. I spent two years writing my first mystery. After that I started sending queries to publishers and went through nine months of rejection letters. I have enough to wallpaper my bathroom now, but that's another story. With each rejection I refined the query until I finally started getting chapter requests from publishers. At the end I had four requests for the entire manuscript and two offers. The publisher did the editing over the next 10 months and my book was released July 2009 by Asylett Press.
In some respects the query is more important than the manuscript. I can't stress this enough. It's your one chance to get your book in an editors hands, so do the research and keep at it. I compared my first query with the ones at the end that got the editors attention and I could see why my first efforts weren't getting any responses. With a gripping query eventually you'll get your book in front of the right person at the right time, and that really is what it comes down to. Meanwhile, get to work on that second novel. It will keep your mind off the submission process and focused on your next bestseller.
I couldn't wait to get my book out there, and the thought of self-publishing did cross my mind. It took four years from the time I picked up my pen to when the book hit the shelves. It seemed like forever at the time, but now I'm so glad I stuck to it and continued to knock on publishers doors. There are a number of small independent publishers looking for quality manuscripts. Start knocking and don't give up until you have that contract in hand.
Those are some tough replies. Have any of you considered self publishing on Amazon's Kindle? You can start selling your book right away without all the hassle. Here is an intro for anyone unfamiliar with the idea:

Hi, I'm Charles Harbin, I publish e books on Amazon's kindle. I've got about a hundred titles for sale, none of which I wrote. Whether we like it so much or not the electronic reading device is the read of the future...and it's here now. Kindle or no, some electronic reading device or another is going to become the read of the future. It's good and bad, pro and con, upside and downside, regardless, it's here now and there's no getting away from it. Purchase a book on Kindle and who owns it? Amazon does. You can neither sell it, trade it nor give it away, unless you sell trade or gift your kindle to someone along with all the titles you've purchased. I suppose you could keep the chip with all your titles on in and just sell the device.

Amazon recently proved that they own the books you purchase. I published many public domain works when they allowed us to do that. (They've since stopped us from doing that once they realized they have way too many copies of popular titles like 'Moby Dick' and 'Pride and Prejudice'). During that time someone published George Orwell's 'Animal Farm' on Kindle and then lots of other people and a book company published it too. Animal Farm is still under copy write. " “When we were notified of this by the rights holder, we removed the illegal copies from our systems and from customers’ devices, and refunded customers,” "Amazon.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/18/technology/companies/18amazon.html
So... if they decide you've purchased a title you shouldn't have they can remove it from your Kindle - there were a lot of angry customers!

One upside is that books are forever preserved in digital format and do not need to be reprinted which ought to make books cheaper to purchase. While I was working on a collection of books to publish on Kindle my wife noticed the titles and remarked "oh, I've never read any of those, I'd like to read them." So for Christmas last year I went to Barns and Noble and purchased all eight of them for her to read. Two of them were only available in hard cover. I spent $89.00. The price for the collection on Kindle - $5.99.

Every day I see elementary school children loaded down with back packs full of books. Those days will soon be over. The chip in Amazon's Kindle holds up to 1,500 titles and if that's not enough you can get another chip.

For the novice novelist Amazon's Kindle might be one consideration for publishing your first work. You set the price and Amazon pays you 35%. Not so bad when you consider a publishing company most likely will set the price and pay you 15% if you can get a company interested in your work without having to spend your own money.

Right now there are roughly a million plus kindle owners in the US. No one knows for sure because Amazon keeps it a secret. The Projection for 2010 is three million. Right now - Whisper net - the cell phone technology used to deliver text to the reading device is only available in the US. However, anyone in the world with an internet connection can purchase a book, download it to their computer and upload it to their kindle. Presently Amazon is working on similar cell phone technology in Europe. Soon Kindle titles will be easily purchased around the world.

For anyone interested here is the video instruction I purchased to learn how to publish books on Kindle:
http://428587lohzgrct1gv2lho0p70i.hop.clickbank.net/
It's maybe the best $50.00 I've ever spent, I've made thousands so far this year. Now I didn't have anyone to help me with it and even with the video I still had a lot to learn. You can't get any help from Amazon! So if you decide to purchase it I will make myself available to help you, thanks, to your success and all the best, Charles.
I find bookstores aren't interested in selling volumes of my books. One or two here and there, and they're happy. So, Cindy, I would try a new path. Right now I'm attempting to sell Ebooks since I can directly email them out to anyone in the world and get paid via PayPal.
Well, I don't like consign, but I do it when I have to. As Feon suggests, part of the problem is getting them to see the book as an investment they need to move out.

If a book is selling well at an outlet I like to move people into a retail position when I can. "Hey, you're selling this thing really well. Instead of us having to keep count of the consignments, why don't you just buy (one, two four, what seems to work) to keep things simple."
I usually, especially with little outfits unsure about the book, will guarantee them. "If you don't sell those four in a month, I'll take 'em back." I've only had to do that once in like 20 years of selling my own books.

Also, I get much better sales in stores other than book stores. Part of that is the kind of book I have, but if you anything that fits into a non-bookstore environment, it's the only book there, usually right on the counter by the register.
I have found that the smaller local bookstores are easy to deal with. Especially Christian bookstores for the Christian author. Consignments can be good, however you can also end up with a number of books with bent covers and pages from being handled and not purchased. It's wise to ask the store manager to showcase one book and keep the additional books off the shelve. Just a thought.

Some bookstores do not oder directly from the author and will not stock books that can't be returned. Having a return policy for books that do not sell always helps increase the chances of getting your books in bookstores.
Hi Cindy,
If you have a really good book that you believe in, you can sell it to independent book stores. They will nearly always mention consignment because it is a better deal for them. They are accustomed to being able to return the book in 30days if it doesn’t sell. You need to be a good salesperson for your book (not pushy), believe in the book and tell them enough about it so that they will believe in it as well. Many independent book/gift stores look for the ‘special’ book that can’t be found in the big box stores. Only once have I consigned my book. Because the book store has no money in it there is no reason to tell people about it. You lose because you end up getting a returned book that is shop worn. If the store owns it, it is a win-win situation when they sell. They get a profit on their investment and they order more from you. If a store owner/manager balks when I say I don’t do consignment, I will suggest that they only purchase 2-3 books . That is not a big outlay for them and I give them a 40% discount so that they make their profit when the books are sold. So much of this book marketing thing is just a matter of not giving up. Don’t stop at 5 book stores.
Very well said Cindy.
Indie booksellers are a writer's best friend. I recently contacted THE BOOK OASIS near my home and they agreed not only to stock signed copies of my books, they put me on their website! Check it out!

You never know till you ask.
Good luck!
Emily

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