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Can Someone Else Sell My Book For Me?

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light-bulb-1407610_1280“Hello, New Shelves Books, How may I help you?”

“Hi, I have a book and I want to know if you can sell my book for me to stores and libraries?”

The answer? Yes and No…

It is possible to hire someone to EXECUTE the sales activities for your book, but YOU need to create the sales plan and the materials needed for the sales pitch.Sales plans and the execution of the sales activities are two VERY different things.

The sales plan includes researching the types of stores that should receive the sales presentations, creating the sales materials, creating the sales pitch, creating the list of benefits to the store/library if they stock the book, setting up a pitch and follow up schedule and plan. It is so much more than making phone calls and emails.

Once you have done all of these things, THEN you can hire someone to make the calls and send the emails.  Making sales pitches and presentations are a simple set of actions and follow up that takes a lot less strategy than creating the sales plan.

If you are considering hiring a sales assistant or a VA to do your sales duties, be ready to provide the following:

  • A PDF of a one page sales sheet
  • A beautifully designed HTML email sample email template
  • A database of stores for the assistant to start with
  • A system to allow the assistant to keep notes on each call and email so that follow up can happen
  • Training and sample script for calls to stores
  • A goal number of emails and phone calls to achieve each week

If, when you have these items, you can turn them over to a sales assistant or VA and let them get started!

For more information consider this video training on working with Sales Associates

If you would like New Shelves to launch your book for you, we would be happy to discuss it with you.  Read more about our LIFT OFF PROGRAM below:

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Interview with Lee Foster: Why Did This “Traditionally-Published” Author Go “Self-Pub”? 

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AuthorLeeFoster-350Amy’s Notes: Today I interview an award-winning travel book author, Lee Foster, who, after publishing 14 books “traditionally,” has now released four “self” published books.

The question is—why? You can see Lee’s 18 books on his Amazon Author Page. Lee has mainly focused on travel books, but also has some literary books, and has a very successful career as a traditionally published author.

Lee recently brought out his annual revision of his book on self-pub, which is An Author’s Perspective on Independent Publishing: Why Self-Publishing May Be Your Best Option. Curious as to his experiences, I asked Lee if he would be willing to share with us some thoughts on self publishing.  He was kind enough to answer the questions below:

What is one thing that you can remember that you did when marketing your books that did not go well and what would you have done instead?

I recently came out with my memoir about growing up in Minnesota, titled Minnesota Boy, as a self-pub book. Earlier it had been traditionally published, and sold out, but then went into decline, as I moved on to other books. I got the publishing rights back. I could have done more to prep for the release on the new self-pub version. I could have done more research on the reviewers, the bookstores, all the folks that make a book about the Midwest viable. Of course, because the book is self-pub, the timeline for success is not frantic. I will catch up and do more to promote the book in the future.

What are most the successful steps you took to increase your book sales?

My main self-pub book is a travel guide, called Northern California Travel: The Best Options. It’s been a successful book for two reasons. First, the territory is a good subject, meaning San Francisco and Northern California is of worldwide interest. But secondly, the book is successful partly because I increased my book “sales” by publishing it in several “forms.” Let me explain. The book is a “printed” book, done print-on-demand with Amazon for its internal market and with Ingram for bookstores and libraries. The book is also an ebook, published direct (but not exclusively) with Amazon and also to “everyone else” through BookBaby. What is innovative is that I see the book’s 30 chapters as also 30 articles on my website, supported by ads. See the 30 chapters at my Norcal on the black bar of my website navigation at www.fostertravel.com. The true sequence of chapters gets a little obscured as I update articles/chapters and they move to the top in the WordPress date-ordered structure. That book is also now out in Chinese in China, and I get a little thrill, and some monthly payment every month since April 2015, as I see my first book (but not my last book, stay tuned) on my Amazon China page. For sales success, we need to get our books out in as many viable “forms” as possible.

What is your favorite part of self-publishing?

My favorite part of self-publishing is keeping track of all the incremental developments and then sharing them annually with my fans. The self-pub or indie-pub vision, call it what you wish, is in an ascendant phase. I believe it will become the norm in the future, as technology and market access proceeds. I have recently come out with the 2016 version of my self-pub book An Author’s Perspective on Independent Publishing: Why Self-Publishing May Be Your Best Option. The book first came out Spring 2015. So much has changed even within one year. My fans appreciate that I put up a summary for free of a couple of major changes in each of the 10 chapters of the book in a recent website post.

Lee Foster's Eight Main Books

What is (for you) the hardest part of self-publishing?

For me, the hardest part is deciding wisely each day how to spend my time, given a range of wonderful options to promote my four self-pub books.

For example, I have a self-pub travel/literary book, which has its fans. In the book I describe in 25 short essays why I think we live in both the most wondrous and the most horrific time ever to be alive. I believe this is the central experience and internal debate occurring in the average informed human being in our time. I look at 25 worldwide locations in my experience, meditating in a text on the wondrous/horrific reality, and I present a photo. The book is Travels in an American Imagination: The Spiritual Geography of Our Time. The book exists as a printed book (now print-on-demand), and as an ebook, and as an audiobook (A lot folks will “read” books if they can listen while commuting). This book will also be my “second” book translated into Chinese. My Chinese partners feel this may catch a wave, as modern Chinese folks think of their place in the world. But more could be done to promote the book, by me. Could I get more fans for this book if I engaged more on Goodreads? The possibilities are out there. It all takes time. I wake up every morning and carefully allocate my time. Which book should get my promotional attention today? And which future book (I am working on two) should I spend some time writing today?

 

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PODCAST at Real Fast with Daniel Hall about Book and eBook Sales To Libraries

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Amy Collins

I just received this transcript from Daniel Hall of my interview with him.  I thought the info might be of use to many of you.

Today we are going to discuss how your eBook and your print book can make you a great deal of money in the library market. 

It is counter-intuitive because people think that libraries are old fashioned and places people used to go.  Not true.  Libraries are where it’s at, and we can make a lot of money there.

The Book Industry Study Group put out a study with Nielsen BookScan recently saying that avid readers, which is the type of consumers that book authors and publishers want to go for, avid readers visit libraries.  Also, their households buy, on average, nine books a month.  They’re in libraries and they are buying nine books a month, on average; a lot of them buy more.  With that, combined with the fact that a lot of libraries are in the United States, it’s the perfect place to focus your marketing and your sales efforts.

Step 1 – Make Sure Your Book Belongs In A Library

The first “Big Picture” step is to make sure that your book belongs in a library.  If you’ve written a mystery novel, a sci-fi novel, a cookbook, a self-help book, a business book, you belong in libraries.  If you’ve written a journal, a coloring book, a word search, those probably aren’t good library books because libraries can’t take what we call consumables.

Make sure that you have the kind of book that belongs in a library, and make sure it’s priced right.  Is every other book in your genre $17.99 and yours is $24.99?  Get your book in line with your competition.  The next step, after that, is to get your book into the wholesalers.

Step 2 – Get Your Book Into the Wholesalers

Libraries buy from wholesalers.  Wholesalers are just big warehouses that will buy books from you, the author or publisher and turn around to resell them to libraries.  The next step is to present your book to the librarians so that they can order the book from the wholesalers.  My favorite step, the one after that, is when wholesalers pay you because the libraries have paid them, and then the libraries start reordering your book.

So, make sure your book is ready for the library and that it belongs there, get your book into the wholesalers, the appropriate wholesalers. Pitch your book to the librarians, get them to put it on the shelves. Then wait for the sales to come rolling in.

If your book does well in one library, other librarians are going to hear about it, and they are going to start ordering your book too. That’s the really cool thing about this because there is a sort of viral nature to the buying of books within the library system.

Selling eBooks to Libraries

My favorite thing about selling eBooks to libraries is that you get to charge a lot of money for them.  You may sell selling eBooks to librariesyour eBook on Amazon for $8, $9, or maybe even $10.  You can sell that same $9 eBook to a library for $30 or $40 because they are going to loan it out.  They are going to loan your book out, over and over again, to their patrons, but only one at a time.

Eventually, if you sell enough copies of your eBook, you then have the demand you need to start licensing them.  That means you sell them, in essence, the right to loan out your eBook for one year, or for a certain number of loans.  That means every year, you get more money because those loans are re-upped, those licenses are renewed.

And yes, if you get your book into one library in Los Angeles, which has a $25 million dollar a year budget, and the other dozens and dozens of Los Angeles libraries can see how well your book is doing, they’re going to start ordering it.  But, what if they see that you have an eBook?  What if you told them that you have an eBook?  All it takes is a simple email, and all of the sudden, you’ve doubled your sales.  In some cases, you have tripled and quadrupled them.

How To Make Your Book Library Ready

library marketI know these steps intimately because we cover them in our course.  I mean, these are the steps that we actually walk through in the course. However, when I said to make sure that your book is ready for libraries, there’s an entire list of things that your book should have.  One of them is a catalogue and publication block. This is a block of information, of data, codes, numbers, and categories that all go into a small space that sits on the back of your title page, also known as the copyright page.

If you would like to get into libraries, this chunk of data is very helpful because it shows the librarians that you mean business. That you understand their business and what they need from you in order to get your book into their system.

When we say, “Make sure your book is ready,” there’s a long checklist of things you may not have actually heard of, and our course covers that.  It’s the catalogue and publication block. We teach you how to price your book.  What’s the right trim size?  We’ve got an enormous discussion going on right now among all of our students about why 6×9 is not a great trim size for most books, not all, but for most.

What you do is you get your book ready.  If your book’s already printed and ready to go, you compare it to what the marketplace needs.  You’ll learn these things in our course. When your book’s ready to go, registering with the wholesalers is as simple as writing a cover letter, sending them a copy of your book, with a marketing plan.

Wholesalers want to know that you’re going to create demand.  Are you going to be calling 40 libraries a week?  Well, then tell them that.  Are you going to be doing radio interviews or podcasts?  Are you going to be writing guest posts as a blogger?  If you tell the wholesaler what your marketing plan is, you have a much better chance of getting in there.

The wholesalers are going to ask for a very deep discount.  In some cases, this will be 50-60% off the price of your book. And, they are going to want to buy the returnable.  If a wholesaler, such as Ingram Wholesale, Baker and Taylor Wholesale, Broder Wholesale, Bookazine buy 40 copies of your book, and only 20 sell, they are going to send you the other 20 back.

So, you’re in the wholesalers now, you’ve agreed to their terms, they’ve ordered a few copies, and now it’s time to write your cover letter for the libraries.  The cover letter does not focus on how wonderful you are or how terrific your book is.  Although you probably are wonderful and your book is great, your letter is focused on what the librarians want to hear and what they need to know.

What they need to know is that you understand their goals.  If you approach a librarian and say, “Hey, I understand your goals, I know how hard your job is, and I’m here to make it easier,” you are so in. You want to create a cover letter, or start a communication email chain with them that says, “I know you want to create foot traffic.  I know that you only want to bring in books that you need, the category is right for you, that your patrons are looking for.  My book is exactly the kind of book that your patrons are looking for.

How do I know that?  Well, because I took this course and Amy told me that self-help books were #3 for non-fiction and cookbooks were #1.  Well, my book is a self-help cookbook, so you clearly need my book.  It’s priced perfectly, it’s got a category and publication block.  It’s available at the following wholesalers. I also have an eBook available at the following eBook wholesalers.”

I’ve been mentioning the print book wholesalers, but don’t forget the eBook wholesalers, like Overdrive and 3M. IngramSpark has a good one, or you can even use some of the eBook distributors like Bookbaby or Smashwords.  So, once you’re in and once you’ve created that cover letter, and you start sending it out to emails, I suggest spending 15-20 minutes a day…that’s it…5 days a week, 20 minutes a day, for about 90 days, should really get you going, sending out this cover letter and tweaking it for each librarian. 

Example Cover Letter

“Dear Susan, My name is Amy.  I’ve written a book about the publishing industry.  I’m hoping that you will consider stocking it on your shelves.”  And then, you go on from there, “Here’s my marketing plan.  Here’s what I know about your library.  I would love to send you a copy as a PDF for you to review.  May I send you a copy?”  Just start with that.

Communication With Librarians

Librarians are lovely.  They are so nice.  They are going to start communicating with you.  As we get into the nitty-library marketinggritty on exactly how to do this, there’s also a long list of things not to do. You do not pick up the phone and call a librarian at noon on Saturday and expect them to give you half an hour.  They aren’t going to.  They are going to be annoyed; they’re busy.

You do not call a school library and ask them to spend $400 on your book.  They don’t know you, and they don’t have that kind of budget.  School libraries are different than public libraries; they depend a lot on donations.  If you really want to be focused on the school library market, that’s a slightly different cover letter.  Again, we cover a lot of that in our course.

What you want to do is to keep going after the libraries that want your book. You may hit a spade of libraries that aren’t interested because the category isn’t right for them. Yes, you have a self-help cookbook, and yes, that’s a huge market for libraries right now, in the print book world and the eBook world. But, what if that particular library system is just stuffed with self-help cookbooks?  What if they don’t need anymore?

That’s okay.  There’s almost 13,000 public libraries in the United States.  Go find others.  Just start sending out your emails.  Twenty minutes a day.  You will eventually start enough conversations, and those orders will start coming in. Eventually, you will start seeing residual and viral sales.  Things will start to snowball.  Things will start to grow.

Tips On Getting Into the Library Market

For those of you who would love to hit the library market, but you don’t have the time–I’ve always said, “When you need to sell a book…time, money, talent…pick any two.”  If you’ve got time and money, but no talent, you can still be very successful.  If you’ve got money and talent, but no time, you’re golden.

If you don’t have enough time, but you have a great book, you might want to consider using some of our advice and hiring someone to do this for you. Examples: a local college kid, your nephew, your grandson, etc.  It should be someone that’s email friendly.

You can hire a virtual assistant.  I take out ads on Craigslist all the time.  There are ways to hire somebody else to do this for you in a way that still is very profitable.  Libraries are profitable enough that if you don’t have that 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week, maybe somebody else does. You should consider training someone how to do it.  It is very transferable.

Connecting With Amy

You can actually view the webinar about our library training.  If you like what you’ve learned today, and you really want to get more into it, check that video out.  I’m very, very proud of the work that Daniel Hall and I did on that.  Also, if you need to reach me, I’m always reachable atInfo@NewShelves.com or on my website, NewShelves.comYou don’t have to implement any of this, but if it resonates with you, then you should absolutely take the time and energy to actually start using what you’ve learned today.

Tips and tricks icon

Daniels Real Fast Results Tips: Getting Into Libraries

 

 

 

Resources:

Daniel And Amy’s Course:
Real Fast Library Marketing

Wholesalers:
Ingram Wholesale
Baker and Taylor Wholesale
Brodart Library Wholesale
Bookazine

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Where to register your books (Real Fast Library Marketing Advice)

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Bowker: Log in and register your book under your ISBN at www.myidentifiers.com 

 

IndieBound: 

1) Log in to IndieBound.org using your personal account. If you don’t have an account on IndieBound.org, please create one at http://www.indiebound.org/join.

2a) Point your browser to: http://www.indiebound.org/addabook

2b) For missing cover art, navigate to:http://www.indiebound.org/addabook/cover

3) Enter your data, attach an image, and submit

4) Please allow time for approval by someone at ABA. You will receive an email when your book is approved. Once approved, it can take up to 24 hours for your book to appear in search results and on IndieBound.org

All add a book requests must be submitted through these forms. Changes and corrections to existing books (other than cover art) should be emailed toaddabook@bookweb.org

 

WorldCat.org: You can email WorldCat or use this form to request that they add your book. https://www.oclc.org/forms/record-quality.en.html 

 

ALA Buyers Guide: http://ala.multiview.com/ 

 

Booklisthttp://www.ala.org/offices/booklist/insidebooklist/booklistproc/proceduressubmitting

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Amazon’s New Marketing Programs and Offerings

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mill-208570_1280A few years back, authors and small presses could participate in a number of marketing programs at Amazon.com.

BUY X GET Y was one of my favorites. You could contact Amazon and request a link from your book to another book of similar appeal. It was not inexpensive, but it was a terrific program that exposed your book to readers interested in books similar to yours. Listmania was a free program that also linked similar books. There were FEATURED PAGES. A small press could purchase a page on Amazon that highlighted a series or group of books in a kind of “landing page”. There were a number of Amazon marketing programs like these and others that were slowly raised out of reach for small presses over the last 5 – 10 years.

Thus began the long dry stretch of desert for single title authors and small presses. Simply put, we were not given any opportunities to participate in Amazon’s marketing programs. Sure, there were tricks and manipulations we could learn, but they were not as effective as participating in Amazon sponsored marketing. Once BUY X GET Y and other programs were placed out of reach, the small press was significantly hampered and not able to compete with the bigger houses that still had marketing programs available.

Flash forward to May 1, 2016

Amazon announced last week that they are making many marketing services available to all Amazon Advantage members. The program works like this:

As an Advantage Advantage publisher you sign up for Advantage and pay an annual fee of $99. This is charged to your account as a deduction of your sales so does not require up-front payment.

Those of you who are now Advantage “members” will have access to marketing programs previously reserved for Amazon’s bigger vendors.

Available Programs

Here are the programs being made available in order of my favorites:

Keyword/Tag Pay Per Click Advertising

This offering is my current favorite as AMS allows you to increase discoverability of your titles on Amazon.com by letting you set your own budget for a particular keyword or phrase. Depending upon your budget and the desirability of the keyword, your book can rise very high in the search page and you ONLY PAY if someone clicks on your book. Your click budget can be as low as $100.

“A+” Detail Pages

Want video, sample page shots, extra photos and other “juicy” offerings on your book’s page? Now you can have it! $600 gets you a LOT more on your detail page. The “A+” detail page is a deluxe detail page featuring advanced formatting and rich media content (detailed descriptions for example) to enrich the shopping experience for customers.

Pricing Discounts

I LOVE this idea! Now, customers can use vendor-funded coupon links (available on the product detail page) to offer customers immediate discounts off of the Amazon selling price. YOU pay for the discount but this program allows you to offer sales and promotions during key peak periods. You can drive sales during heavy review and blogger appearances or during a big media hit!

Don’t Forget the Importance of a Review Dashboard

Whenever trying new and tried-and-true marketing efforts, it is vital that you evaluate your successes and that you measure the return on investment and optimizing campaign performance through sales reporting. With AMS, you have access to sales data and marketing ROI on each and every marketing tool you try.

Vine Reviews

Amazon reviews are becoming more and more important every month. AND Amazon is being a LOT more vigilant about deleting reviews that do not appear legitimate. Amazon Vine reviewers are a select but LARGE group of reviewers that have been “pre-approved” by Amazon and their reviews are given more weight. You can look up each Amazon Vine reviewer individually and ask if they would like a copy of your book to review or you can save all that time and hassle, pay $1500 to be offered to the Amazon Vine reviewers. It is a pretty hefty price tag, but if you want access to the entire VINE reviewer list in one easy, seamless program, you can invest in this program and let THEM handle all of the details.

Signing Up for AMS

So, on May 1st, I will be signing up for AMS and trying out the Keyword and A+ Page listings right away. I have been waiting for years to be allowed to swim with the bigger fish and I cannot wait to see how it works. If YOU are going to be participating, PLEASE come back and comment here and tell me how it goes. It would be great for those of us who decide to swim in these waters to report back how it, the water, is. I will be back to tell you my experiences and offer solid data on the return on my investment.

Resources

Amazon AMS Marketing_Programs [2-page PDF]

Amy Collins headshot x125Funny, sharp, and smart, Amy Collins is full of up-to-date industry tips and executable advice. She has been a Book Buyer for a chain of bookstores as well as a Sales Director for a large books and magazine publisher. Over the years, she has sold to Barnes & Noble, Target, Costco, Airport­ Stores, Books-A-Million, Wal-Mart­, and other major chains. She helped launch several hugely successful private label publishing programs for Borders, PetSmart, and CVS. In 2006, Amy sta­rted New Shelves Books, one of the fastest-growing book distribution, sales and marketing companies in No­rth America. She is the author of the new book, The Write Way and works with self-published authors and small publishing companies to increase their sales in the marketplace.

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First Results From Amazon Marketing Campaign

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I have been experimenting with Amazon’s Advantage Marketing offerings over the last 10 days.  My first experiment was to purchase keywords and move my book up the search list via “sponsored product”.  I set a $300 budget for 10 days and got a GRAND TOTAL of 11 clicks and 0 sales.  I only spent $3.71 for those clicks and my budget was largely untouched.

So…. as of today, I am trying something different.  I am setting a $100 budget for TWO days and allowing a LOT more money per click to be charged to see if that drives the number of eyeballs on my book up.  I do not expect Amazon to be responsible for SELLING the book (the book will sell or not….) but I want a LOT more clicks per impression.

I will let you know how it goes! (And I would be curious to hear how YOUR advertising with Amazon is going!)

For now, here are the results of my $300 budget campaign over 10 days so you can see what it looks like:

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Why you need IngramSpark AND CreateSpace – UPDATED

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 By Amy Collins (previously published at www.buildbookbuzz.com)

I have been asked one question more than any other: “Do I need IngramSpark if I have CreateSpace?”

I know it’s tempting to avoid the extra expense and hassle of taking on a second print on demand (POD) provider, but I want to take a moment and share some of the experiences we’ve had at New Shelves Books with our POD work.  I hope these statements help you determine if you need one or both.

So . . . do you need both?

Yes:

  • CreateSpace does a terrific job with Amazon.
  • CreateSpace charges less for printing and set up fees than IngramSpark.
  • CreateSpace does offer “extended distribution” for bookstores and libraries (sort of . . . more later).
  • IngramSpark charges set up fees and a lot more for proofs than CreateSpace does.

But:

  • CreateSpace’s “extended distribution” is only fully available to those books using a CreateSpace ISBN. (You should always buy your own ISBNs and have a direct relationship with your book’s brand and ISBNs.)
  • Even if your book has extended distribution and can be bought by bookstores, it most likely won’t be. Bookstores do not relish the idea of giving their biggest competitor money.
  • Books in extended distribution ARE listed at Ingram Wholesalers, but NON-RETURNABLE and at a lesser discount so bookstores and libraries do not get the good terms that they would if they could buy from YOU at IngramSpark.
  • In addition, the extended distribution offered by CreateSpace is actually IngramSpark! CreateSpace uses IngramSpark for the distribution. It does not, however, offer competitive discounts to the bookstores, further narrowing your chances of being stocked.
  • You will be instantly relegated to the pile of “self-published” books before the buyer has a chance to review the quality.
  • IngramSpark allows your book the chance to be ordered in many countries and formats that CreateSpace does not.

So:

  • Use CreateSpace for Amazon. It does a great job and takes less money for each sale.
  • Use IngramSpark in addition so that your book can be ordered by the bookstores and libraries from the large wholesalers with which they prefer doing business.
  • Use your own (Bowker-provided) ISBN so that you have the benefits of your publishing company’s brand on all databases.
  • Don’t cheap out. IngramSpark and CreateSpace are two different tools for two different markets. If you don’t want to be in the retail store and library market, then you don’t need IngramSpark. But if stores and libraries are your goal, then spend the money to provide the books to them in the manner that gives them the best chance of saying “yes.”

Finally

If you really cannot stand the thought of using more than one POD provider, go with IngramSpark. It will allow you access to more venues even if it makes you less money per unit.

IngramSpark and CreateSpace take all comers.

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How To Set Up a Price Specific Bar Code for FREE

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POD Math

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coins-72714_1280A number of you have asked me about how the math works when you go to IngramSpark for POD.  Here is an example:

A 204 page POD paperback book costs $4.98 to print. (.02 a page plus .90 for the cover)

The book is priced retail at 16.99

Ingram will purchase the book from Ingram Spark at 55% discount off of the retail price.  That will leave you $7.65

Ingram Spark will take the $4.98 out of that total due for the printing and send you $2.67.

Ingram will then take the book that they bought from  you (through Ingram Spark) and sell it to bookstores and libraries at a discount of anywhere from 20% – 42%.

You make $7.65 but have to pay for printing out of that.

Ingram Spark makes $4.98 for printing

Ingram Wholesalers make $2.21 – 5.95  but they have to pay for shipping and handling out of that.  (FYI-If you choose the short discount and only let Ingram offer a 20% discount, you are severely limiting the number of places that will take your book….)

The bookstores and libraries make between $3.40 – $7.13 but they have to pay for employees, rent, lights and the rest out of that.

Does that make more sense?

A number of authors have questioned why they only get to “net” $2 or less in some cases.  I would argue that once the stores and wholesalers pay THEIR expenses, they make a LOT LESS than that!

As long as you are making 11% of the retail price as a net before taxes, you are in good shape! (most established publishers would be thrilled with that)

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Why Can’t My Book Be 6 X 9?

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book-1281238_1920 In a Facebook group I administer, the question of trim size has come up.  (Mainly because I rashly claimed that 6 X 9 was not an acceptable trim size for most books.)

This started off a firestorm of questions and requests.  “What trim size SHOULD my book be?” was the main thread throughout.

So, I decided to do some research by category. I cannot tell you what trim size YOU should make your book, as a publisher, that is your call. However, I have gone through the USA TODAY bestseller list, the Amazon top-sellers and the NYTimes bestseller lists and have compiled a list of the most common trim sizes that they all have. When there was an even split (or close) I reference both.  Many of the trim sizes were SOOOOO close to sizes available at Ingram Spark and Create Space so if they were a 10th of an inch or less “off” I have referenced the  available sizes.

What is clear, is that the major houses are not using 6 X 9 in any meaningful way… and if you want to emulate a successful publishing house (hint: you do….), then you should consider the following trim sizes.

In NO particular order, here are the most common trim sizes of book genres in the current bestselling lists:

General Fiction  5.25 X 8

Thrillers/Mysteries  5.25 X 8.25 OR 5.5 X 8.5

Women’s Fiction  5.25 X 8.25

YA General Fiction  5 X 7 OR 5 X 8

YA Dystopian, Fantasy, and SciFi  5.5 X 8.5 OR 5.5 X 8

General Self Help  5.25 X 8

Inspirational/Spiritual  5 X 8

Memoir  5.25 X 8

Reference (writing, editing, etc) 6 X 9 (See?  I can admit when I am wrong!) and 5.5 X 8.5

Mid Grade Fiction  5 X 8

Early Chapter Books  5.25 X 7.5

Picture Books HC  11.25 X 9.25

Picture Books PB 8 X 8 OR 11 X 9

Board Books 6.25 X 6.25

Business  5.5 X 8.5 OR 5.25 X 8

The bottom line is this…

Go to your local bookstore and get on-line.  See what the major houses and YOUR biggest competition is doing with their trim sizes.  You can still choose to print in any size you wish, but you should know what the market is looking for right now.  Buyers are human and like things that look like previous successes.  Why not borrow from that phenomenon where you can?

 

 

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