From time to time, Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) receives submissions of books with requests from the author to either distribute or market the book. While CSPA does neither of these services directly, we do provide services to publishers and authors to help in gaining distribution and in marketing their books.
CSPA recently received a request for distribution from an author who published a children’s book via CreateSpace. The gentleman was seeking distribution to get his book onto Christian bookstore shelves nationwide. I felt that some of you might benefit from my response to this author, so I am sharing it here.
Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) is in receipt of your children’s Christmas picture book and your request to find a distributor for your book to make your product available in nationwide Christian bookstores.
CSPA provides distribution for our member publishers (see our website for the membership criteria at www.christianpublishers.net under “Membership”). We have two options for distribution. One option is to have books placed in Send the Light, Inc. and the other is to have books stocked with Ingram / Spring Arbor. Both are distributors of Christian literature.
First, you need to be aware that placing your book in distribution will not get your book on bookstore shelves. Distribution only makes your book available for bookstores to order. It is still the publisher’s or author’s responsibility to market the book to bookstores.
Second, it is very difficult to get a book into Christian bookstores. Thousands of books are published each year and bookstores have very little shelf space. Therefore, they tend to stock books by the large Christian publishers and by well-known authors. Those small publishers and independent authors wishing to get their books onto bookstore shelves have to work hard and spend money to make this happen.
Third, your children’s book does not really have a spine. Some distributors will not take books without a spine that has the title of the book printed on it. The reason for this is because most stores do not stock books that do not have a spine. If the book is stacked in a shelf, it becomes almost invisible without a spine showing the book’s title. Since your book does not have a spine, I can guarantee that most stores will not stock it even with a lot of effort on your part.
That being said, there are many other avenues available for you to market your books more directly to consumers. I would recommend that you read the book Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace (www.marketingchristianbooks.com) to learn more about other ways to promote your book.
Sarah Bolme, Director
Christian Small Publishers Association