INTRODUCTION TO SELLING YOUR BOOK
INTRODUCTION TO SELLING YOUR BOOK
What we do
We work at contacting all relevant wholesalers and retailers, online and bricks-and-mortar, about your book, worldwide.
(Smaller retailers, Amazon and libraries can get books more quickly and efficiently through wholesalers rather than direct from a publisher or distributor. In North America their wholesaler might be Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Bookazine, New Leaf or Quanta, and in Europe Bertrams, Gardners, Westnedge, OLF or Bookspeed. All our titles are available through all of them).
As of September 2016, we use these sales teams:
NBN sales force. One of the largest independent sales teams in N America, they have nine in-house sales staff, highly experienced, covering wholesalers and central buyers for chains, and use a further six sales commission groups with several dozen reps between them for sales to selected independent stores (The R&R Book Company in the Mid-Atlantic, Southern Territory Associates in the Southeast, McLemore/Hollern & Associates in the Southwest, Hand Associates in the West, Wybel Marketing Group in the Midwest and New England Book Sales Group in New England). There are a further 100 or so reps on commission who cover non-book-trade outlets, like museums, garden centres, craft shops. They are in the top 25 vendors in all sections of the book market.
Again, NBNCanada - Eight commission reps cover the Canadian retail and special sales accounts. Hornblower Books service Ontario and Eastern Canada, Lisa Pearce for Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and Aydin Virani and his sales group sell our books in Alberta and British Columbia.
We work here with Quantum. They have a team of five.
Europe and Ireland
Another team of five, run by Durnell Marketing.
Brumby Publishing. Predominantly MBS titles here, we push separately from the office in other areas.
Publishers International Marketing.
We're working on other areas, like North Africa/Middle East, South and Latin America, Caribbean.
We're in constant touch with these groups, sending them AI/tipsheets, catalogues, attending sales meetings. All the 50 or so main reps get an AI sheet on every title, and from September will be getting subject catalogues that include strong backlist. We also supply book metadata to international bibliographic distributors such as Nielsen, Bowker and Bibliographic Data Services.
You can be sure that your title will be presented to larger retailers such as Amazon, Hudson, Hastings, BAM, NACS and Folletts in USA, Indigo in Canada, and Waterstones, Blackwell, Foyles, and John Smith in UK. Reps also present to library suppliers such as Brodart in USA, and to Bertram Library Services, Askews and Yankee Book Peddler in Europe.
Over the years we have built good relationships with booksellers in particular subject areas, which you can see in the Contacts Database. For instance in the Mind/Body/Spirit sector we have close links with specialist bookstores such as Watkins Books in London, and Banyen Books in Vancouver. In the Christian market we have close links with the wholesalers A Great Read and Goodnews Books. Our imprint for radical politics and culture, Zero Books, is popular with booksellers such as Foyles, Blackwell, Bookmarks, Housmans, Folletts, Bluestockings and City Lights. In general, our trading terms are effectively sale or return (returnable) and we offer trade accounts a discount off the recommended retail price RRP of 35–60%. We never refuse returns from an event and often offer increased discount.
These outlets market and sell our books by hosting events, and displaying books on their shelves and websites, as well as publishing articles, reviews and adverts. We also work with festival organizers, colleges and academic institutions, churches and retreats, arts centers and galleries, therapy centers and healing groups throughout the world.
We run adverts for qualifying books in trade catalogues published by wholesalers such as Ingram and submit books to reviewers in the trade press such as The Bookseller. These catalogues and journals are both in print and digital, and offer booksellers details of new books several months in advance of publication. Reviews and adverts are recorded on your Marketing page in Activities.
We offer certain booksellers extra discount or free books in return for higher profile on their website or in their shop window, inclusion in promotional mailings to their customers, running an event and occasionally “publisher shop front” space online.
We don’t run front of store table promotions in the big chains. Exposure for books at the front of a bookstore is “bought” by the publisher at the discretion of the bookseller and costs in excess of $10,000.
We’re building up our own contacts with the trade from the office, sending regular newsletters in different subject areas, which they subscribe to. You can see the distribution of these on your Marketing page. These also go to, journalists, foreign publishers and readers. They highlight author events, articles and interviews, and new and better-selling books.
From the summer of 2017 we will have the majority of our titles in the NBN catalogue here, which is twice-yearly. We’re also producing catalogues covering new titles and selected backlist in four areas (Zero Book/politics/culture, MBS, general non-fiction and fiction) three times a year, which you can download from your marketing page, for your own use.
What you can do
In 2015 500,000 new titles were published in US, 300,000 in the UK. Another million or so were self-published. A small proportion (of the former, let alone the latter) get onto bookshop shelves. You can help by contacting local ones yourself (EVENTS), running workshops, giving talks, handing out flyers (PROMOTIONAL MATERIAL), being active on social media (SOCIAL MEDIA), and emailing your networks (EMAIL). Make sure readers can buy books easily, add clear buy links and directions in emails, on social media, in articles, in posts, on your website and on any other websites with which you have connections. There is a BUY ONLINE button to key retailers for your book on your page on www.johnhuntpublishing.com.
Libraries generally do not buy from publishers, but from wholesalers, who we do contact. In the UK these are organizations like Bertrams, Askews, Yankee Book Peddler and Tomlinsons. There's a similar spread in North America, where Baker & Taylor has about 70% of the library business. These wholesalers pass on information to libraries through online feeds. There are useful articles on libraries at: http://www.strategicbookmarketing.com/services-library.html and http://www.library.pima.gov/contact/authors.php.
The degree to which libraries continue to receive taxpayer support varies enormously by region. The one common thread emerging recently is "PDA"—Patron Driven Access, i.e. "Patrons" or "readers" will have a greater role in book acquisition. Libraries need to make themselves more directly relevant to reader wishes. So though the library market is shrinking, the possibilities for direct author intervention are increasing.
- If you are an academic, please encourage your university library to stock your book and others on the list, and subscribe to our newsletter. Do you know of courses where your book could be a course text or on a reading list?
- Add your library to our contacts database.
- Contact your local public library. Tell them briefly what the book is about, of any reviews and how to order. Public libraries now offer ebooks too, so go online and check they list your book and, if not, recommend it and any others in the imprint. Overdrive distributes our ebooks to most public library platforms in UK & US. NB Overdrive will only list your book as available in a particular country if a library has requested it. So ask for it in your local library and get friends in other countries to ask in theirs too.
- Reviews in library review journals, such as Library Journal, Kirkus, Booklist, Publishers Weekly, can help. We submit a number of books each month to these journals and record this on your Marketing page in Activities.
Public Lending Right
In some countries the government pays authors a small amount every time their books are borrowed from a library, the Public Lending Right. Authors have to register for this directly. It does not happen in the USA. For the UK, check on www.plr.uk.com.
Also, in the UK, you can register at www.alcs.co.uk. It’s a central body for collecting payments from schools etc. for photocopying. Payments will not be sent to you unless you register. It usually only applies to books being used as a classroom text.
Piracy is a negligible issue on printed books. Piracy of ebooks is more common. Along with most publishers, we do not build digital rights management (DRM) into our ebooks because it would restrict their readability and distribution. What instead happens is many of the third-party stores (e.g. Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble) add a layer of DRM that locks the book to a specific user account and device. If you do come across an instance of your manuscript being offered as a free download and you can find a contact email address on the offending site, post this on the Help forum in Sales & Distribution/ Sales Online with the URL link to your book. We will then send a take-down notice to their service provider. Word Press is on our side and will take down any offending URL.