Monday, June 27, 2011

Notes From The Other Side of the counter....Consignment

As a bookstore owner, and now a publisher, I am beginning to see the challenges authors face when the book is published and it’s time to hit the streets to have others carry the title.  At All Booked Up, we establish terms directly with the author, go through our distributor or deal with publishers when needed.  Now, I am learning, not all stores think the same.
Some things to consider when you hit the street:
A lot of book stores want to deal with a local author directly.  They often offer a consignment deal where the store agrees to hold an event for the author in exchange for 40-60% of the sales.  For this type of agreement, the author buys the books from the publisher at a discount and resells them at the book event, giving 40-60% to the retailer.
At Peak City Publishing, we prefer to have the book stores deal directly with the publisher and take the burden off the author; however, we have come across a few situations where the author would lose the opportunity for the event.  In that case, we support the arrangement, as the take from the event will probably exceed the author’s royalty of the book sale; plus, the author gets the visibility and exposure at the retailer.
We do not advocate selling to our authors to make sales.  But, we do not want to hurt the author’s chance of exposure and opportunity to have books for sale at other retail outlets.  Per the contract, the author does not collect royalties on books purchased directly with Peak; rather, the royalties are based on third party purchases (consumer direct, book stores, web site, amazon, etc.).  The author receives the same discounted rate as the retailer. 
Like All Booked Up, the retailer will expect authors to bring new customers to the store.  It is important for the author to promote the event to family, friends, media and others.  When no one shows, it is embarrassing to both the author and to the retailer.
·         Make a list of local publications/newspapers in the area for the event and send a press release to the editors (don’t forget your contact information)
·         Contact the local library in the area and see if you can place a hand-out or flyer for the event on the board
·         Publicize the event on your social media sites – Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, etc.
·         Set up an account on – if the venue does not exist – create it!
·         If you are selling books directly, tell potential customers to buy the book at the venue
·         Offer to do a raffle for a free book at the event (must be present to win)

Have more ideas?  Share them here so all of our authors can take advantage!