What is the Process of Book Distribution?

All successful authors have solid book marketing strategies, yet so many writers come to me – – – too late!  Too late to really make the kind of positive impact that is possible by “strategizing” exactly how to best pull all the pieces of the puzzle together and leverage all the resources available to make the book a STELLAR SUCCESS.

There is a plethora of tasks to be accomplished during this somewhat confusing, troublesome process, the appropriate distribution of a book through traditional channels being one of them.  Self-publishing is probably the most viable and potentially profitable choice, it does, however, come with one big drawback – how to manage or manipulate “traditional” distribution for your book.

It IS possible, by knowing what your options are and by following a well-timed, strategic plan of action, to get your book into some of the independently owned bookstores and a few specialty shops.  Direct mail, trade associations, and working through major wholesalers are other choices in distribution for the self-published author.

It is also essential that you are aware, in advance, of the potential challenges you might incur when securing major retail distribution for your book.  You will have to understand and accept the “issues” that come with allowing distributors to buy your book on credit, implement a system regarding returns, design your version of an effective “sales team” and understanding the implications of having just one title to offer.  These are all manageable – when you have the support of a Literary Strategist!

The terms wholesaler and distributor are pretty much considered the same – the two terms frequently being used interchangeably.  There are lists of the potential distributors, but to be most effective, you have to understand – or be guided through, criteria specific to each.  Print-on-Demand (POD) comes with it’s particular little nuances, but once you get the right information – the process is not overly complicated.  There are two well-known names with which you should become very familiar:  Baker & Taylor and Ingram Book Company.  For a resource sheet on other major distributors, email me at voicesinprint@yahoo and put DISTRIBUTORS PLEASE in the subject line.

When you have made the right connections – be prepared to submit, at bare minimum, the following items:

  1. A galley copy of your book.
  2. A copy of your marketing materials and a detailed description of the book.
  3. Copies of all published reviews and media coverage you may already have received.
  4. A description of your marketing campaign.
  5. Full bio-information on you as the author.
  6. Outline of retail and potential wholesale pricing.

Approaching independent booksellers requires a special approach, as will getting your book into specialty retail stores, but you can do it… with a little direction and a healthy amount of work.  As noted above – you can also expand your choices by making contacts with the right trade associations, some special interest groups, and conference and conventions.

At the end of the day – the distribution portion of your book can be simplified – when you know the right path to follow.  Don’t make it unnecessarily difficult to get your book noticed! If there is a hot burning question this article has inspired – please let me know by leaving a question in the comments section of this post.

My intention today is to shake up your thinking!  To show you what you NEED to know that you might not. If you have not yet considered how you will get your book to the major distributors – when is NOW the time to gain sufficient understanding about this part of being a successfully published author?

Keep writing – but keep in mind that all publishing steps run simultaneously -not sequentially!
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One Response to What is the Process of Book Distribution?

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