Information and Programs for Authors
Some of our most treasured partners in our marketplace are our regional authors. We welcome authors as GLIBA members.
The Heartland Fall Forum is an annual conference that we produce with the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association. We feature over 100 authors in a variety of events designed to enhance connections between booksellers, publishers, and authors.
The GLIBA Holiday Catalog features dozens of books from a wide range of publishers. The catalog is a proven method to introduce stores to new customers and to give those customers a reason to visit our stores and buy books.
Looking for ways to get your book into our bookstores?
Here are some tips.
First, congratulations on having your book published! We applaud your creativity and commitment.
Second, we need to bring up one cold, hard truth. Whatever the subject of your book, however long you’ve labored over it, and as wonderful as you’ve been told it is by friends and family, there is no guarantee that a bookstore will choose to or be able to sell it. Booksellers are inundated with catalogs and solicitations on a weekly basis. Buying decisions are based on their experience and knowledge of their customer base, but other factors can also exert influence undefined price of the book, space in the store, even money in the bank.
So you can’t expect a bookstore to stock your book just because you live down the street or because your writing group loved it. With that said, here are ways to maximize your chances of getting your book onto independent bookstore shelves.
1) Know the marketplace. GLIBA has more than 120 independent bookstore members in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio, all with distinct personalities and communities of readers. Many stores have specialties in such areas as travel, children’s or regional books. With that in mind, research stores before you approach them. If you can, visit a store and note where your book might be shelved, and if it is a strong section in the store.
2) Who and How to Contact.
Every store has at least one book buyer; larger stores may have several. Some bookstores require you to make an appointment; others may see you on a drop-in basis.
Your first step should be to identify the store buyer. A phone call is usually all it takes. Ask for the book buyer and be prepared to briefly describe your book and in which section(s) it might fit. If the buyer’s not there, find out when she or he will be in the store so you don’t waste a trip.
Alternatively, look up a store online (virtually all have websites) and send an email to the attention of the ‘buyer’. You can tell them briefly about your book, but the main thrust should be to find out if you can make an appointment or if they’d rather initially handle things via email.
If and when you get down to brass tacks, they’ll want to know if you’re doing any promotion (not the store’s job) and how your book is being distributed. Is the book stocked at regional wholesalers like Bookazine, or nationally by Ingram and Baker & Taylor?
Many bookstores will ask about consignment, and we urge you to consider this option. You have a greater chance of having your book stocked if you agree to leave copies on consignment. Some bookstores have their consignment policy stated on their website so that is a good place to begin. If they don’t, be prepared to bring your own form. If your book is a print on demand only title, ask the store book buyer what their policy is as it may differ from published books. Most stores won’t order many, as theose books can’t be returned.
You may have heard that a 60-40 split on the sale of the book is common (you get 60%), but many stores ask for a 50-50 deal. Also, you will be likely asked to check back with the store about sales, usually in 3-6 months (not every week!). If the book sells, that’s great. If not, be prepared to take it home.
4) How to propose a reading/signing to a bookstore.
Book event etiquette applies whether you're nationally or regionally recognized, a bestselling or a first-time author. Our stores like to bring interesting authors to their customers and to provide authors with an enjoyable, productive venue in their hometown or stop on their tour. In scheduling an in-store signing, speaking and/or reading event, first call the store to find out how its event manager prefers to receive proposals for events. You might be asked to fax, mail or e-mail a press packet.
What should I include in a press kit?
- publicity contact, name, phone, and fax
- book press release that includes title, isbn, price publisher and a brief description
- a brief biography
- a copy of the book and/or a book jacket
- a publicity photo of yourself
- book reviews or excerpts from reviews
- event proposal & date suggestions
- your target market and marketing ideas
- info on how the book is being promoted
- if a signing or reading is scheduled, provide the store with a list of friends and family who will be likely attend your event
- Handing out bookmarks, flyers or postcards that say "available on Amazon.com." Do yourself a favor and change that wording to "available wherever books are sold."
- Listing only Amazon on your website as a purchase option.
- Citing your Amazon sales rankings, or sales figures for competing big box stores.
Here is a great article from Bookselling This Week called How to Talk to a Bookseller: A 10 Step Guide for authors.