Okay, so you’ve self published your own book and done it the old fashioned way and have hundreds if not thousands of copies in boxes filling every available space in your home. I know, I have been that writer.
What do you do now?
It is time to take a gallon, if not a ton of courage in your hands, pack a bag with your precious books in it and head off to the big smoke. The city. Where all of the bookshops are.
This is what I did all of those years ago, and scarily, it was ten years ago, yes, ten years ago. I know the world has changed a lot since then, especially publishing and book buying, but one constant truth will always remain, people like to browse through bookshops and pick what they are drawn too. Whether it is a recommendation or the top ten list or something else, people like to feel the paper in their hands, smell it and have that intimate moment with the object. They like to read the stuff at the back, many will flick through and read a random passage, that is when they decide. Not when some great corporation tells them to buy, but when they chose to.
So, your job, the writers job is to walk purposefully up to the counter, introduce yourself and ask to speak to the manager without having a meltdown or becoming a pool of water on the carpet.
This is the really interesting part. In my experience, you will get to meet the manager or the person responsible for buying in stock and at that moment you will show them your book and get the opportunity to talk about the story and you. I know writers can do that, and do it very well.
It came as a pleasant surprise to me back then, but I was able to strike a deal there and then with the shop. They agreed to take a number of copies (between 6 and 20 was my norm) at a discounted price of 30 or 35% of cover price. I was to send in an invoice and they would pay within 28 days or receipt. And that they did.
Simple as that, and by and large that was how it went. One very large major chain wanted me to go through head office and politely said I would never get paid because they had “over 2000 suppliers and little old you would get lost and/or ignored” so I left them alone. But most were happy to give it a go. Small independent bookshops too, they were all very reasonable as well.
So, my fellow writers, in this day and age it is worth taking those books to the stores and striking up a deal. After all, there are still a great number of people who make impulse buys in bookshops just because they are there and they can touch and feel the book.