December, 2016

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Getting Your Book INTO Bookstores-A Step by Step Plan


We all dream of the day we walk into a bookstore, an airport store, a local supermarket or a gift shop aWooing book buyers by Amy Collins for BookWorks.comnd see our book on the shelf.  But how do you get there?

Book Buyers Work Through Wholesalers

Bookstores, supermarkets, gift stores (and just about any other chain retailer) work with wholesalers.  Among the biggest wholesalers in our industry are Ingram, Baker and Taylor, Bookazine, America West, Brodart, and others.
For a retailer to buy your book directly from you, they have to go through the hassle of setting you up in their system.  They will not likely go through this exercise unless they are convinced that your book is worth their time and trouble.  So in the beginning, they will typically want to order from a wholesaler.

If you are focusing on independent bookstores or gift stores, there is a way around this.  You can offer them your book on consignment.  This means they don’t pay you up front for the books, but only after they sell.

If you have gone the POD route through IngramSpark (which is a good route to go), you are already set up at the biggest wholesaler in the US, Ingram Content Group.  IngramSpark is part of Ingram Content Group and they work together to make your book available to retailers.  (Just make sure that you choose “returnable” when setting the book up—retailers buy RETURNABLE!)

If You’re Not POD with IngramSpark, How Do You Get Into a Wholesaler?

Getting into a wholesaler is not complicated, nor is it easy.  I’ve included a list of links below to the wholesalers’ information and application pages.  Applying to each wholesaler takes time but is a great first step.

Bookstores and Libraries:

Ingram –

Baker & Taylor –

B&T Application  –


Brodart –

Bookazine – 

Follett (K – 12 and University Libraries) –

Quality –

Unique –

Bookstores and Chains:

America West –


Overdrive –

Overdrive Application –

Big Box Stores:

Select Media –

The News Groups –

ReaderLink –

You’re Set Up With Wholesalers, Now What?

Wooing book buyers by Amy Collins for

When I meet authors and publishers who are interested in growing their sales, I ask them this question: “What shelves do you want to see your book on?”
What I hear the most often is “Barnes and Noble”, “BooksaMillion”, “Costco”, “Walmart” and often, “My book would be PERFECT for Airport stores!”

While that may be true, I hate having to tell them what I am about to tell you…

That will only happen if you can prove to the book buyers at these stores that your book will earn its shelf space.

When it comes to bookstores (and all retailers), you  need to show them that you are working to create demand.  Stores’  book buyers are presented with thousands of different titles each week and they obviously opt for those they think will make them the most money.  Books with strong marketing and advertising backing them will be favored over those that do not.

They will also be checking their biggest competitor, Amazon.  All bookstores have access to sales data and even the smallest independent bookstores have to be highly discriminating on how/where they invest their time, real estate and resources.  So if your sales are poor on, your book won’t make the cut.

I wish it were true that that bookstores and book buyers will “give books a chance” and champion the little guy.  While there is the occasional exception, bookstores are businesses and judge every potential book placement for its ability to make money.

As for other retailers, airport stores, Costco, and supermarkets have very limited shelf space compared to the rent they are being charged.  It’s a buyer’s job to make sure that those shelves earn their keep.  If books are put on the shelves that don’t sell enough, the buyer has to replace them, which is expensive and a waste of time and money (and can make them look bad).

No matter how great your book is, you need to prove to the buyer that your book will make money.  How will you do that?

Blank tag tied with brown string. Price tag, gift tag, sale tag, address label, etc.

If You Don’t Yet Have Impressive Sales Figures, Try This…

Offer the buyer a list of things that you ARE going to do.

  • Host a book club online
  • Run a BookBub promotion for your eBook
  • Offer table or window display advertising dollars
  • Write articles for a national magazine
  • Get interviewed by national newspapers

I know this list is a bit overwhelming and your next question is probably “well how do I get all that marketing and PR?”

That is an entirely different question we can address in a future post.  But now you are armed with the facts about what you’ll be facing when you approach a national chain in the book world or outside of it.  It is not impossible to get your book on the shelf of a national chain or bookstore, as long as you have a firm idea of how the business works and what the book buyers need.

If I can help in any way, do not hesitate to contact me at

Originally published at:


Do This, Not That


This month, I asked Jerry Friends, the Publishing and Distribution Manager at Thompson Shore to sit down with me. Jerry and I met at AuthorU Extravaganza last September and I was impressed with his knowledge of self-publishing. Jerry has seen thousands of books succeed and fail in the last few years and so I asked him to join me.

school-1661730_1920What She Did: Let Their Friend/Relative Read And Edit Her Book

Jerry and I both agree that it is very tempting to save money (and some hurt feelings) by letting someone who “gets” you read your manuscript. I mean, just because they are related to you does not mean that they are not qualified to edit a manuscript! What about authors who KNOW a professional editor?

What You Should Have Done Instead

In spite of all the “good” reasons to hire or use someone you know to edit your book, you should not do it. Ever. Nope. No exceptions. Nada. Sorry.

Editors need to start from a place of complete “zero” when approaching a manuscript. They have to read the writing from a position of complete ignorance about the writer or their decisions and suggestions will be shaded by what they know. The reader will not have the benefit of shared experience with the author and neither should the editor. No matter how tempted you are, give the reader the benefit of an edited manuscript that was reviewed by a complete stranger.

What You Can Do

Don’t just take my word for it. Editors and editorial services will do evaluations of a set number of pages for a small fee. Thompson Shore charges $100 to completely edit and evaluate the first 10-12 pages of a manuscript. Other editorial services are also out there and are a TERRIFIC investment even when in the middle of writing. How great would it be to get coaching on your writing tone, voice, and style BEFORE you finished?

smiling-1280975_1920What I Did: Printed And Published My Book Without Solid Goals In Mind

According to Jerry, the most important conversation authors need to have with themselves will focus on for WHOM the author is writing and WHAT goals will be pursued.

  • Are you writing a cookbook to raise funds for a local charity?
  • Are you writing a book to allow you to pass on your advice to clients?
  • Are you writing a book to share your story or entertain and be of service to the world at large?

I am guilty of this. I published my last book with a vague idea of the market but I did NOT set solid sales goals. I knew I wanted to be of help and that is as far as I got.

What I Should Have Done Instead

I should have asked myself the following questions:

  1. Is this book for my clients and business associates only?
  2. Do I want the book to be purchased and used by total strangers?
  3. Do I want to sell the book outside of the US?
  4. How many books do I want to sell in the first two years?
  5. How much time and money am I prepared to invest in achieving these goals?

What I Then Did

After speaking with Jerry, I went back and set a goal of 3000 books sold online (print or ebook) in 2017. I want to mainly focus on the US and Canadian market because some of the advice in my book does not translate wonderfully to other countries. Yes, I want to still give away a LOT of books to clients and students, but I have been focusing my time and money on promoting my book as an “add on” to my existing base…. It is time to expand to strangers and let my book “introduce” me to another group of authors and publishers who need or want my assistance.

Next step. Invest the time and money necessary to ACHIEVE the goal of selling 3000 copies in 2017.

glasses-272399_1920What He Did: He Did Not Get A Second Proof Read Of His Book After It Was Laid Out

A client of mine (I will call him “Jeff”) hired an independent copy editor to edit his book. Then the edited manuscript was turned over to a professional layout and design firm who did a terrific job laying out his book and creating a killer cover. The problem? Dozens of small and not-so-small errors were introduced into the manuscript during the layout process. This is COMPLETELY NORMAL and to be expected. Computers create weird spaces or glitch and swap a few letters around with punctuation.

Jeff thought that because the book had been through a review before the layout, he did not need to spend the $2 a page or so to have a professional proofread after the layout. He went to print without it.

What He Should Have Done Instead

Jerry and I see this all the time. At Thompson Shore, the author makes the final decision on every part of the publishing process. Once the book was laid out, Jeff should have either had several people/volunteers read it carefully and make notes of errors and corrections OR he should have hired a professional proofreader to finish the job. Once you spend ALL of that time writing the book and ALL of that money publishing it properly, WHY would you skip this vital step?

What He Then Did

Jeff “unpublished” his book, took it off sale and brought the lay-out file to a professional proofreader. She read and re-read the book several times over the next 10 days and made over a HUNDRED notes that Jeff agreed with.

Here is the thing… Jeff’s manuscript was well written; it was beautifully edited, it was professionally laid out… it just needed that last final step to be considered a professionally published book. There is no need to “rush” to publish. All that does is satisfy the lesser side of our natures. Take the time to do it right and you will be SO glad. The satisfaction that comes from publishing properly, setting goals and creating plans to achieve those goals and “doing it right” will save you time and money in the long run.

More to Come, and What About You?

Next month, I will have more screw ups and mistakes to share with you. I hope you find my DO THIS, NOT THAT features helpful! Feel free to leave a comment below or ask a question… I LOVE giving my opinion!


*Originally published by The Book Designer Nov 2016 by Amy Collins


Can I Work with Wholesalers if I Use CreateSpace to Print my Book?


Question: “I published my book on CreateSpace…. can I work with wholesalers so I can sell my book to bookstores and libraries?”

The Answer: Maybe.

Here is the full story: If you have purchased your ISBNs from your country’s ISBN/Books in Print bureau (in the US, it is Bowker) then YOU own the ISBN and YOU are the publisher of record.  (To reach Bowker in the US, go to For more info on why you need your own ISBN, CLICK HERE.

At that point, you name your publisher company and upload your book with YOUR ISBN to CreateSpace and you are DISTRIBUTING your book through CreateSpace.  You can ALSO distribute your book at IngramSpark (see THIS ARTICLE to read more about that and why you need both CreateSpace AND IngramSpark)

Because YOU are the publisher of record, you are able to apply to wholesalers and sell your book to wholesalers and retailers with NO exceptions or problems.

IF you have chosen to use a CreateSpace ISBN then THEY are the publisher of record. (Yes, even if they put YOUR publisher name as an imprint on Amazon.)  If that is how you choose to proceed, you are PUBLISHING your book with CreateSpace and THEY own your ISBN and THEY are the publisher.  You may get the money, you get the credit, but THEY OWN YOUR ISBN.

Because of this, you are NOT able to apply to or sell your book to wholesalers and retailers because you do not own the rights.  CreateSpace does.

Yes, you can sell your book on consignment to the local store down the street, but not much more than that.  Please read THIS before you make your decision.

If you have already published with a CreateSpace ISBN, then you can make your book available through CreateSpace’s “Extended Distribution”.  This is allowing CreateSpace to list your book on THEIR INGRAMSPARK account.  Your book is able to be ordered by bookstores and libraries BUT….

They most likely won’t for these reasons: CLICK HERE

  • Your book will be non-returnable
  • Your book will not have a full discount
  • Your book is be published by their biggest competitor

Dec 5th Launch of Publishing Success Summit


captureI am so proud to be included in this valuable program and part of this amazing group of experts. Please join us from Dec 5-17th…  By the time you finish watching a few speakers, you’ll learn hours & hours worth of publishing do’s and don’ts which will help you make an informed decision on how to approach your publishing goals.

You’ll be amazed at the wealth of knowledge this panel of 75 book industry experts has: as a combined group, they have published thousands of books which has resulted in millions of copies getting sold across the globe. There aren’t any other people more qualified to teach the “in’s & out’s” of the publishing world than these incredible individuals – they actually “Walk the Talk”!

They will share with you how YOU can build a solid foundation on which to publish a professional book, not only that, but a bestselling book if you are willing to put the time & effort into it.


Since this event is being held online, there is no physical venue that it’s being held at, there will be no travel expenses, there will be no need to purchase plane tickets, there will be no need to schedule time off work to attend. You can view & listen to this event from any computer, laptop, tablet or mobile device that has access or connection to the internet.

AND all the sessions will be available up to 3 days (72 hours).

Day 1 – Monday, December 5th, 2016

Nina Amir: 9am
Tom Antion: 11am
Blake Atwood: 1pm
Beth Barany: 3pm
Sandra Beckwith: 5pm

Day 2 – Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

Jennifer Blanchard: 9am
Dan Blank: 11am
Dr. Judith Briles: 1pm
Allison Bruning: 3pm
Jeff Bullas: 5pm

Day 3 – Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

Roberto Candelaria: 9am
Chadwick Cannon: 11am
Lisa Cartwright: 1pm
Stephanie Chandler: 3pm
David Chesson: 5pm

Day 4 – Thursday, December 8th, 2016

Karol Clark: 9am
Mark Coker: 11am
Sue Collier: 1pm
Amy Collins: 3pm
Robin Colucci: 5pm

Day 5 – Friday, December 9th, 2016

Honoree Corder: 9am
Susan Daffron: 11am
Barrie Davenport: 1pm
Michele DeFilippo: 3pm
Derek Doepker: 5pm


Day 6 – Saturday, December 10th, 2016

Mal Duane: 9am
Jill E. Fagan: 11am
Joel Friedlander: 1pm
Susan Friedmann: 3pm
Rick Frishman: 5pm

Day 7 – Sunday, December 11th, 2016

Kimberley Grabas: 9am
Connie Ragen Green: 11am
David Hancock: 1pm
Heather Hart: 3pm
Shelley Hitz: 5pm

Day 8 – Monday, December 12th, 2016

Kevin T. Johns: 9am
Kristen Joy Laidig: 11am
Brian Jud: 1pm
Carla King: 3pm
Lynne Klippel: 5pm

Day 9 – Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

Tom Corson Knowles: 9am
Mike Koenigs: 11am
John Kremer: 1pm
Tony Laidig: 3pm
Elizabeth Lawless: 5pm

Day 10 – Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

Shawn Manaher: 9am
Ken McArthur: 11am
Ann McIndoo: 1pm
Marnie Marcus: 3pm
Mark L. Messick: 5pm


Day 11 – Thursday, December 15th, 2016

Derek Murphy: 9am
David Newman: 11am
Grael Norton: 1pm
Terry Whalin: 3pm
Chris O’Byrne: 5pm

Day 12 – Friday, December 16th, 2016

Jason Oman: 9am
Susan Ordona: 11am
Marcos Orozco: 1pm
Bret Ridgway: 3pm
Ted Roach: 5pm

Day 13 – Saturday, December 17th, 2016

Amanda Rooker: 9am
Alinka Rutkowska: 11am
Penny Sansevieri: 1pm
Claudia Svartefoss: 3pm
David Meerman Scott: 5pm

Day 14 – Sunday, December 18th, 2016

Steve Scott: 9am
Lynn Serafinn: 11am
Felicia Slattery: 1pm
Leia Stone: 3pm
Lisa Tener: 5pm

Day 15 – Monday, December 19th, 2016

Emma Tiebens: 9am
Rachel Thompson: 11am
Heather Townsend: 1pm
Ellen Violette: 3pm
Brooke Warner: 5pm


Day 16 – Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

Chris Well: 9am
Kary Oberbrunner: 11am
Dawniel Winningham: 1pm
Jane Tabachnick: 3pm
Paul Brodie: 5pm

Day 17 – Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

Jesse Tevelow: 9am
Simon Bogdanowicz: 11am