You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see the distribution channel for books is changing. For example, it looks like publishers and agents are taking steps to bypass the middleman.
Publisher teams with store for distribution
Christian Retailing reported in November that publisher Tyndale went into a joint venture with an African book and gift retailer to open the 5,000 sq. ft. Johnsen & Taylor Bookstore in Wheaton, Illinois.
Agent gets into ebook publishing
Even more interesting is the New York Times reported agent Andrew Wiley, principle of the Wiley Literary Agency, sold a series of 20 books by authors like Phillip Roth to Amazon.com for distribution as ebooks. As a result, publisher Random House blackballed the Wiley Agency.
More Kindles sold Christmas 2010 than in 2009
Of course, ebooks are changing distribution. Amazon.com, which has been tight-lipped about Kindle sales, reported in a December 13 letter posted on the Kindle discussion forum that “millions” of the latest $139 version of the Kindle had sold already. In fact, the Kindle team reported more Kindles sold in the first 73 days of the holiday quarter than in all of 2009.
Super-successful book signing for first time author
At a time when the national average for sales at an author book signing is one copy and 20 to 25 copies is considered a big success, first-time author Kristen Feola sold a whopping 97 copies in her hometown at her December signing of The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast.
Of course, I wanted to know what went on behind the scenes to create this successful signing. Kristen, who noted she has a marketing background, built a relationship with a local bookseller through volunteer work at her church. So when she signed a book contract, she just kept the storeowner in the loop. She credits promotion the store did with the success.
However, Kristen has a following of 700 on Facebook as well as a following on Twitter. Christian Publishers Outlet used their public relations firm who sent out the publisher’s press release, which got the attention of a radio station that interviewed Kristen. The bookstore put up signs, handed out cards about the event to patrons, emailed all the churches on their eblast list, offered give-aways including a $100 gift card, and even prepared recipes from the book for patrons to try.
Two marketing tips for authors
- Amazon.com Associate Program: Did you know you can be paid every month if people go to Amazon from your Web site and order books—or anything else? I know a number of best-selling authors who get tidy little checks from Amazon, in addition to their other earnings, because they are Amazon.com Associates. The income is a percentage of sales from visitors who mostly order backlist titles (though some order current titles). Amazon supplies the images and the HTML code you need and they keep track of the sales. It’s free and not hard. One thing to note, however, is if you live in a state that is fighting with Amazon over collection of state sales tax, like North Carolina, you won’t be eligible.
- Midwest Book Review Publicity and Marketing Site: Here’s a plethora of links for authors on the subjects of marketing and promotion maintained by the Midwest Book Review. It’s one of my favorite resources. I hope it helps you as you plan for success in 2011.
God bless you and the work of your hands.