ReadersMagnet shares a brief guide on how to pitch your self-published books into Online Bookstores

In the past, it was a rather daunting proposition to get independent booksellers to shelve self-published novels. Indie booksellers were hesitant to sell self-published books based on the old self-publishing stigma which meant bad content or low price. Yet then it was and now it is. In terms of material, not only have self-published writers upped their game, but the production of self-published books is strongly consistent with that of traditionally published novels. So, with the gradual decline in physical bookstores and the advent of online bookstores, how can you market your book to them?

Infographic Online Bookstore 2 1

  • Write your best book

Bookstores want to be about 90% sure that they can sell a book before they buy it, so that means that you have to give the bookstore a quality product. Something that stands out qualitatively and fits in beautifully genre-wise.

  • Know your audience

Bookstores need to see to it that your book aligns with their customers. Niche bookstores may sell only a certain genre. Know your intended reader and your genre. Be willing to clarify precisely and concisely what your book is about. This way, if anything suits your readership, you and the retailer can get a better picture.

  • Discounts and returnability

If you want your book to conveniently flow into independent bookstores, then consider the 55 percent wholesale discount and make it returnable. The book industry is a returnable business, so bookstores will expect to be able to refund books that they don’t sell and get a credit on their returns.

  • Pricing

Consider your goals. Look at other book prices in your genre and price it accordingly. Review formats, trim sizes, consider the numbers. Try to remember that sometimes, pricing is an emotional aspect. Set realistic prices for your books after doing your own research and considering all the other aspects involved in it.

  • Easy ordering

A bookseller isn’t likely to want to deal with inconvenient distribution. They will stock, distribute, and invoice books in bulk, as they deal with distributors. Using a reputable distributor for your book will be more convenient for the bookstore, and the easier you make it for an indie bookstore to sell your book, the more likely they are to be willing to try.

  • Publisher/author support on book sales

What booksellers are looking for is what kind of publisher/author support they’re going to get from you for the online sales. There thousands of online bookshops and distributors, so what’s going to attract a person to a specific shop to search for your particular book?

Selling the book is the responsibility of the bookstores, however, marketing it not. Online bookstores will expect you to keep your end of the bargain. The retailer needs to market the book, so don’t ask the shop to do the legwork for you. Provide a good publicity strategy in motion, and let the owner of the bookstore realize what it is. This will prove to them you are taking action and believe your book can sell.