how does an author…

Dear Tilly;

My question is how does an author (self-published- or small publisher) get the books sold to the book store in the first place?


Sell your book

Stop selling your book, and start selling you

What authors forget is that retailers have yearly budgets that they work with to purchase new products; they want to pick a title that is going to turn over rather quickly and not tie up their money with inventory sitting on the shelf. So they pick the titles that will ‘sell’ to the end buyer the reader from THOUSANDS of different publisher/distributors- and self-publishing authors.


For an Author 95% of the time your ‘client’ is not the reader; it is the retailer and the library. The reader is the end user. How do you plan on getting your book to the end user?

If your plan includes a bookstore (or any retail store) or library- YOU need to get the retailer to see that  YOU- not your book- is being followed- that people are asking for you by name.

Not convinced? Take a look at your own book-buying habits. How often do you go into the book store looking for your favorite AUTHOR? Do you research what has just been released by Author XYZ? STOP selling your book- and START selling you!

Have the confidence that your work will sell it self- and start working on selling YOU!

How? You as the author need to be visible and make your name your brand. Pretty much everyone knows who Stephen King is even if they have never read his stuff.

So, are people buying the title or the author?

Why would a retailer buy a book from an author they don’t know?  They wouldn’t!

Build your profile-GET THE WORD OUT.

  1. Go to other authors, and friends blogs and sign their guest book- and make comments. Your signature goes like this: AUTHOR XXXX, easy peasy self promotion that most miss. That way when I type in author XXX in the search bar- BOOM your name comes up all over the place! ESPECIALLY comment on blogs that are related to your books subject matter- or regarding your own hobbies/interests. For example, As an author, I love XXXXXX—blah blah blah- blah—but be sincere- people can spot a phony a hundred miles away! And don’t be a pompous ass- my book this- my book that- simply mention you are an author- and let your passion and personality speak for itself.
  2. Using social media? MORE isn’t always best! TARGET your audience. Know who is going to buy your book. Men from 19-25, Ladies from 30-45- be playful, fun and responsive. Let them get to know the man/woman behind the pen and build a relationship!
  3. NEVER turn down an opportunity for an interview no matter how small. If someone asks you to be a guest on blog talk radio—or an Ezine- or blog- the answer is YES, I’d love too! and more important ASK- approach magazines, large and small and say- hey- this is me- lets do an interview.

Once you build a following-

  1. Consider approaching retailers about commission sales.
  2. Become a local celebrity- get active in the community.
  3. Seek on-line book sellers (Amazon) as well as  traditional brick n mortar- and consider E-books.
  4. Sale direct off your website if you wish
  5. Ask your self-publisher how they can help market your book and if they have any retail connections
  6. Talk with independent book sellers, often they are willing to take on new authors
  7. Know your limits- REMEMBER you do not get paid upfront for a book order from a large chain, and they often order 5000 or more books, with the clause in the agreement that they can return 4999- if they so desire. If you can’t take that risk- DON’T even approach them.

NEVER give up. BE your BRAND!

Hope this helps!





  1. Good advice! I’m going to be self-pubbing soon & will be wearing out my virtual and actual shoe rubber to get this done.

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