Sunday, 1 September 2013

Where to Sell Your Books #amwriting

Since the world of Indie publishing became established in recent years, we are seeing a rise in online book sales and a sad demise of independent high street booksellers. I am very upset to find bookshops so few and far between in the UK, although some of my favourite second hand shops still keep on going. I don’t believe they will ever die out because there is a dedicated following of readers like myself who will support them to the bitter end. And so it should be.

There is no denying that Internet sales of books are the way to go when you are an Indie author. If you choose to self publish, whether the reason is because you can’t find an agent or publisher, or you simply want the creative freedom to do it yourself, you have to sell your books online. The remaining chainstore bookshops here in the UK are loath to take on unknown authors. They prefer to accept sponsorship from the big publishers and promote celebrity names that come with their own ready-made audience and fan base. It is a simple fact of economics.

That leaves us poor mortals fighting tooth and nail to be seen, heard, and above all, read, by the market that will be the biggest influencers in social circles. Probably the main supporter of Indie authors has been Amazon, closely followed by Smashwords, for Internet sales. Both websites offer the author a chance to upload their work as an eBook, and on Amazon you can include paperback books for sale as well if you have them. Amazon has received a lot of negative media attention recently when it was revealed that the company has been using a legal loophole to avoid paying UK tax. Subsequently there is now a movement trying to boycott the company.

Personally I still like Amazon. No, I don’t agree that they should avoid paying their taxes. If we have to do it then so should they. But as both a seller and a buyer, I like the service and the products that they supply. My books are available on Amazon, and that is where I make the majority of my sales. It is quick, easy and convenient to download a Kindle book. I also order various items from Amazon frequently, although admittedly I am largely a book buyer. I just can’t help myself, and I own a Kindle!

As an Indie author, and in my experience, we must have our books available in as many places as possible. Therefore I chose publishers who would list my books on the central wholesale database from which all UK stores can order my books on request. I also made sure that my books could be sold internationally, although at the moment those outlets are via Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  I am listed on Smashwords, where you can choose from a number of different eBook formats, depending on the device you use for reading.

And, finally, I haven’t given up on the high street stores. I did do several book signing events with Waterstones, but these have since dried up after the company was sold and the business model has changed. It is now more difficult than ever for an Indie author to gain presence in a real, solid bookshop. It is all about networking, building contacts, and gaining the trust and working relationships with people that can get you seen by the right readers at the right time. And for now, the best place to start is on the Internet. Get your social media hat on folks; it is the only way to sell your book brand!

*Book stack image courtesy of Modernish Homemaker 
Kindle image courtesy of Kindle Publishing

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