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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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Yes, John. After working very hard for a year at getting an agent to represent my book, I went the POD route.
I was hoping against hope that someone would tell me that my math was wrong or I missed something. The only people really making money from POD are the publishers. I received a notice from mine recently urging me to enter a contest and win $1,500. The entry fee was $249. Do the math! Whose making money on that one. Seven entries pays for the prize, and it is misleading to say the prize is $1,500. It is $1,500 less the entry fee. I am glad the I published. Deadly Portfolio: A Killing in Hedge Funds has received wonderful reviews, but I can't afford to promote it if my profit per copy is a buck or less. Publicists, publishers, festival sponsors and consultants of all kinds keep urging a writer to keep going, that it is a marathon and not a sprint. In reply, all I can say is that any time I am faced with a new proposition, I divide the cost of the proposal by the royalty I get paid for an Amazon sale. That tells me how many volumes I would need to sell in order to break even. The result can be very enlightening.

The math for my books seems better than what you are describing. I have Happy Publishing, my own imprint of Wyatt-MacKenzie (publisher in Oregon). Lightning Source does the printing for the publisher, and the book is listed in Ingram.

 

For my second book, it is called "Happiness Quotations" due next month and I will pay:

The printing cost is $.015 x page count + $.90
158 pages = $3.27. There is a 40% discount to Amazon and my profit will be $5 if I list at $15. However, if I buy it myself, I pay $3.27 plus shipping. My profit will be $11 for back of the room sales if I charge full price. But I can still profit $6 if I charge $10 in person.
My first book was only 99 pages, $13.95 list, and received $8 profit. I gave wholesale only 25% discount but I'm going to bump that up with the next book. It is only $2.25 plus shipping to order copies. For back of the room sales, I charge $10 flat (my sales went up 75% when I changed from $11 to $10, it was just easier for people). My take home is about $7 per book. I also charge $7 for 100 book lots -- the customer pays shipping as it ships directly to them.
You're welcome to research this method if you're interested. I don't have any complaints so far. The only piece I don't like is when I order them myself thinking how much I will save off Amazon pricing (to sell online myself) because I hate the fulfullment process. After about a week when my first book came out, I stopped and just have people order directly from amazon. 
I do have to do the book marketing myself, the publisher does put the book in all the right catalogs and online, and gets some PR for it. I mastermind most of the PR myself though.
~Erica
Your costs are lower than mine. You have a better margin. I can make more on books that I sell  out of my own inventory. The trade off is my time. I can sell at the same price Amazon does, charge for shipping and make $7.00 on paperbacks and almost $10.00 on hard bound. My problem is with consignments. I would rather sell outright to a retailer at a flat rate than put it on consignment, but as we have read elsewhere, most dealers want to buy from a wholesaler for record keeping reasons.
My problem with Consignment is the follow-up. If the bookstore believes they will sell it, they should buy it for a discount price. I'd rather offer "buy back" , so they can feel safe, but sell it rather than consignment.

Thank you very much for sharing this info.  I've known about such "events," and others.  In fact, my one and only New Year's Resolution is to "not freely contribute any more books!"

A. K. Buckroth. Independent Publisher

The chain stores are a monumental challenge, even though I have gotten some very good WEB reviews, feature article's, and done many book signings, I still haven't broken even on any of my books. What does anyone suggest about getting work into a College or University or book club ?
I was just thinking about that myself! I was talking to someone who lives near my alma mater, and thinking how do I break into that culture. I remember speakers coming to UC when I was a student, and talking about their books. The only thing is how many young people will actually buy compared to a grown up book store?

WOW!  I just did it - referencing book signings with Alma Maters.  Both in Massachusetts, I heard from one (Worcester State University) and awaiting the other  (Quinsigamnd Community College) along with the non-profit organization out there that receives a partial percentage of my profit.  I wrote that in the book (The Center for Diabetes Education)!

Good Luck!  Don't procrastinate.  Google your school(s) and locate the Publicity Department/Director of Media Services.   I am hoping to schedule before graduation day(s).  Wish me luck! 

A. K. Buckroth

Have had no luck w/my schools---

Hi.  Well, my similar efforts have not been as responsive as I had originally  hoped.  After 'walking the streets' in four different towns with a purpose, beginning with a Book Signing, each town has 3 - 4  books on consignment.  It took me a while to learn - especially after sending invoices without a response - that each store prefers a telephone call to give me an update.  Better still, I become satiated when making a personal visit.

Presently, and when I can fill up the gas tank, I'll visit and inquire if the proprietor(s) would rather I take the books back.  I have better luck at personal Book Signings.  

Consistently learning...A. K. Buckroth.

Okay, I'm about to share some information with you guys, you really need to know.  Now, if any of you would like me to open up a new group and start something to help answer questions and give you suggestions as to the "HOW" to's, I have an approval on this and will be glad to do it.

 

First off, the publishing industry is vast and is suffering through a major change right now.  I speak of this, because I own a publishing company and have the "IN's" with the 'Powers That Be'.   My social contact lists on a regular basis are The New York Times Book Reviews and book buyers at the major store book chains.  So the information I'm telling you is correct and backed by experience.

Dealing with POD's are tricky.  Book buyers don't like POD books for several reason. 1) They have to pay for them upfront.  2) 90% of the time POD books are offered to the bookstore buyers with limited discounts and no returnabilty.  Basically, they would be buying the book - not knowing whether the book will sell or not.  Having a stock a book and it not selling- is dangerous for bookstores.  Hence the returnability- they are stuck with the book.

Dealing with POD publishers.  All publishers are not alike.  Most POD publishers DO NOT promote the books or even try to sell their books to a bookstore.  Why? Because they don't want to take the risk that the books will be returned.  It costs a publisher more than just the cost of the book.  These publishers see very little in the way of marketing books they publish IF they do any marketing at all.  Most don't, because of the money it takes to advertise and campaign a book properly.  Not to mention they are not going to put the money into stocking books in a warehouse.  Hence -POD.  Like I stated before- not all publishers are alike. 

 

John Kramer is very correct when he stated- "Your publisher should be the one to get your book in the bookstores."  Now, if your publisher doesn't do anything but take your money to publish your book, this is called a Vanity Press and is truly where you don't want to be. 

Now, Borders has recently changed their book buying policy, where they will only be buying books that are by well known or best selling authors.  Yeah, okay.  I've found a way around this.

Another thing mentioned is retail discounts.  Most places like Amazon or even dealing with Baker & Tayler require a 55% discount on books they sell.  This again is something your publisher works out- as it is their job to SELL your book and not hide behind 'we offer' or "you book is available to'.  Watch the wording folks, this is where you can be limited.

To truly self publish your own books, you need a printer.  Like, someone mentioned above (please forgive me as I did forget the person's name), they use Lightning Source.  This is one method where you can publish your own books and have them "available" to places like Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble and other online retailers. 

To have your books on the bookstore shelves takes a larger step than what you have imagined. True publishers put alot of time and effort into preparing a book before it's even released.  There is a process here to build a media kit to present to the book buyers.  Even Baker & Tayler ( a wholesaler) want to see this.  A properly written media kit, tells the book buyers about your book and gives them an idea of the work you've done to promote the book prior to its release.

 

Again, this is only a tidbit of information, the whole process that makes it work is basically a program from start to finish, before the book is published and after its release.

 

Now, concerning problems with getting a big publisher to look at your manuscript is another story all together.   An editor of a publishing company considers a number of things when reviewing your submissions.  The first thing: Did you follow directions?  This is the number 1 reasons why manuscripts are refused.  2) A well written and prepared Query letter is a must.  You have to do your homework and research on the other books in the market which are similar to yours. 3) Editing.  If you have past the test of the first 2, and your book is poorly edited the manuscript will be refused.

On the subject of booksignings, this again is another process of work which needs to be done and explained in detail so you understand why you get refused by bookstores.

I have to give John Kramer credit, to the highest degree for developing a website such as this, where you can learn HOW to market your books.  But, there is a way to put the information he gives you into a working package and make the most out of it.  There is a step by step process to all this madness.

To make the most of it, you have to understand how the process works and where you fit in.  Then you discover your role as not only an author, but a promoter, marketer and even in certain cases a distributer and sales agent.  Yes, it's alot of work, but ...fun!

Again, if you would like for me to set up a group, please let me know.  We can discuss the how to's of each step and I can explain to you in depth of why there are certain rules.  Because of my passion for people and new authors I try to be as helpful as I can.  I know the struggles and disappointments each face.  However, I do know the success as well.

T.

 

 

 

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