Getting Books into Bookstores

If you are a writer who wants to publish independently without working with a traditional publisher then a key question that is possibly on your mind is once the book is published, how do you get it into bookstores.

I’ll share that when I began the self-publishing journey, I had no clue what I was doing. This is becoming a theme for me, right? I jumped into writing, I jumped into publishing and I did it blindly. I didn’t know what could or should be done and what shouldn’t. I learned along the way.

One lucky day, I attended the Maui Writer’s Conference with many of the top writers in the industry at the time. Terry McMillan, Christopher Vogler, John Saul, Carrie Fisher and so many others were there. It was amazing! I got to meet Princess Leia, how cool is that? But the most interesting and most valuable guy that I met there was an author by the name of Dan Poynter who gave a workshop and sold his book, The Self-Publishing Manual. This book was gold for me because it walked me though each step of moving from a finished manuscript to getting the book into bookstores, namely, distribution.

Distribution Is Absolutely Necessary

Distribution is how your book gets into bookstores. Back then, the early 2000s, there were many large bookstores and tons of independent, smaller bookstores to potentially place my book. It was before Amazon took over.

Over time big bookstores like Barnes & Noble and Borders started gobbling up the medium size bookstores like Waldenbooks and soon Amazon took over and even Borders was unable to compete. As we know, Barnes & Noble is the only one still standing. But before all this happened, my goal was to figure out how to get my books into these stores.

Today, even though the number of bookstores is no longer as plentiful, we have other avenues and other exciting ways to distribute our books into places like Target, Walmart and independent neighborhood bookstores. Plus, there are libraries and other retail markets as well.

The question is still how do we do that?