I recently read an article in Christian Retailing by Tim Way, retired buyer for Family Christian Stores. In the article, Tim talked about what buyers consider in deciding what books to stock in their stores.
Among the things he listed, the following two stood out for me:
- Does the author have a history of success? In other words, have the author’s previous books sold well?
- Is the subject matter something that people are likely to be talking about? Is the book timely?
These criteria make it extremely difficult for new authors to find room on bookstore shelves. Tim even mentioned several times in his article that it is extremely difficult for new authors to break into bookstores or to get traction for their books.
The reality is that getting a book on the shelves of a retail store is difficult to begin with. Getting the book of a new author on a shelf in a bookstore is becoming close to impossible.
If you are a new author or have published a new author, you may be suffering from this New Author Plight and finding it difficult to get traction for your book. If you are, don’t despair.
Think beyond the bookstore. After all, 49% of all books are now purchased on the Internet. Word-of-mouth is the number one driver of book sales.
Find other ways to get traction for your book. Look at where you can reach your target audience directly and start spreading the word about your book outside the bookstore arena.