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How to Get a Book Published: How Bookstores Select Titles

  • By Dee Power
  • Published 04/14/2009
  • Writing

After the agents, editors, and the marketing departments at publishing houses have all made their decisions about what will be published, in what quantities, and how the finished product will look, there is one final decision maker who ultimately decides what books will be presented for sale to consumers: The buyer for the bookstores. The decision maker for the independent bookstores is often the owner, or the owner and several employees. Make sure when you’re thinking about how to get a book published that your book title will be considered by bookstores. The chains have corporate buyers who specialize in different areas. The buyer looks at the prior sales history of the author, or if it is the author’s first book, the buyer will look at similar titles or topics. Of course the publisher’s sales rep, or the distributor, lets the buyer know of the marketing push the title will receive. If advance reading copies (ARCs) are available or galleys, the uncorrected page proofs of a book, those are sent to the chains and major independents three to four months prior to the title’s publication date.

Booksellers usually buy their first order of a new t

itle from the publisher through their sales reps. Subsequent orders can be placed directly with the publisher, through a distributor or wholesaler, which allows the bookstore to batch their orders to several different publishers and receive one invoice and make only one payment. It allows the bookstore to return books from different publishers to one place the wholesaler. Even small and micro publishers need to work through the distributor and wholesalers. Occasionally local authors will be allowed to place their self published or print on demand book on the shelves of their local bookstore on a consignment basis. That means that the store only pays the author for the book when and if it sells. Many titles that aren’t physically stocked in the store itself can often be ordered and sent to the customer’s home, as long as the book is prepaid. The decisions book buyers make about what titles to stock are a blend of taking into account the sales pitches from publishers’ reps, historical sales data available about an author or a topic, knowledge of their customer base and to a large extent simply what their gut instinct tells them will be popular.

Bookstore placement is a critical factor in how to get a book published successfully.


Get your free report The Perils and Pitfalls of Publishing: Whom Can a New Author Trust at How to get a book published Dee Power is the author of several nonfiction books including The Making of a Bestseller, the novel, Over Time, and several screenplays. Find out more about her at http://www.brianhillanddeepower.com

by Dee Power



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