Awareness Is Not Enough

“I need distribution for my book right away. I am doing radio and TV shows and bookstores are wanting to order my book.”

This caller’s frantic plea for help is something that I have run into a number of times. It turns out that this author published her book via KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). The only place it was for sale was on Amazon.com.

The author had hired a publicist—spending thousands of dollars. Fortunately, the publicist was doing a good job of lining up radio and television interviews. The problem: no distribution.

So, while this author was getting lots and lots of publicity for her book, her book was not positioned for that publicity.

I have seen this happen to a number of independent authors. It is not a publicist’s job to educate her client on book publishing and distribution. After all, the publicist’s specialty is publicity. As a result, many publicists fail to make sure that their clients’ books are in distribution and widely available for sale in numerous outlets before booking media interviews. Sadly, when this happens, much of the publicity achieved goes to waste.

Publicity alone does not sell books. Most book sales are determined by three factors.

1. Awareness

People have to know your book exists to be able to purchase it. This is where publicity is very helpful. The more exposure you have for your book, the more people you make aware of your book.

2. Decision

Decision comes after awareness. Only after readers know about a book can they decide to purchase the book.

3. Availability

Once a reader decides to buy a book, the book must be available in the format and place he or she wants to buy the book. If readers cannot find the book where they usually shop, the sale is easily lost. Not everyone shops on Amazon.

When it comes to selling books, awareness is not enough. Availability (think ease of purchase) is just as important a factor in the buying process. Having your books available for sale in multiple places enhances your ability to sell your book.

Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) offers our Members ease of access to distribution through IngramSpark and Lightning Source. Member publishers and authors of CSPA can use their CSPA membership benefit to upload titles for free with these print-on-demand services that also provide distribution through Ingram—ensuring that their books are widely available for sale.

Related Posts:
Distribution Is More Important Than You Think
Amazon Is Not a Distributor
Making Smart Use of Your Marketing Dollars

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Photo courtesy of Pablo García Saldaña.

 

Don’t Be Unprofessional

One extremely important thing any small publisher or independently published author wants to do is to attract business (i.e., book buyers). To do this, one must be able to secure media interviews, glowing book reviews, awards, and positive coverage on the Internet. To In order to accomplish this, one must look and act professional.

Unprofessional

Looking and acting professional means sending an image that says that you know what you are doing. In other words, your books, website, and communications with people (media, personnel in the book industry, and customers) are in line with what is standard for the industry.

Here are a few things that you can do to make yourself or your publishing company look unprofessional:

  • No physical contact information (phone and address) on your website.
  • Sending out a review copy that is signed by the author to a name other than the person receiving the book.
  • Sending an uncorrected proof of a book as part of your submission for a book award.
  • Poor cover design and/or interior layout of your book.
  • Having a business card with a printing company’s name or advertisement on the back.
  • Basic typographical errors in books and press releases.

A few of you are going to say to yourself as you read this, “You have got to be kidding. People actually do this?”

Yes, they do. As the Director of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA), I have personally encountered each of these from publishers and independently published authors.

No one wants to do business with individuals who are not professional. Please do both yourself and other small publishers and authors a favor.So, don’t do these things. Not only do you make yourself look bad, your actions also reflect poorly on all the other small publishers and independently published authors who are trying to be professional and make a place for their books in the marketplace.

If you publish Christian books, one more piece to take into consideration is that being unprofessional can reflect negatively on the name of Christ. Remember, not everyone you do business with will be a Christian.

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