I was asked to do a blog on how to get into bookstores. The process is easy, but it can take time. Basically all you have to do is ask. If you’re lucky enough to have a local bookstore, go in or email and ask if they take consignment books. I’ve found they usually take a smaller percentage than the box stores. And most want to promote local talent.
If you want to get into someplace like Chapters/Indigo it can be done. I’ve done it and several of my friends have as well. The first step is to go in or phone and ask if they take consignments. Not all do. They’ll provide a contact name for the person who handles your genre. It’s usually a different person for adult and children’s books. The ones I’ve contacted so far have provided an email for me to make a formal request. One asked me to drop off a copy so he could review it first. Be warned — they take 45% commission.
Currently, my books are in two locations. One is a local coffee shop. The owners are big on promoting local talent and always have someone’s art work/photography up on the walls for sale. They’ve also made arrangements with the writing organization I belong to, The Writers’ Community of York Region (WCYR) to have our published authors sell their books. The commission fee is waaaaaay lower than Chapters. A small bookstore about an hour east of me also has my books, but unfortunately she’s closing in March. Too many small businesses of all types are closing their doors these days.
Don’t forget about craft fairs and farmers’ markets. The cost of a booth can be as low as $25. Higher end fairs or conferences can run over $100, but if you have a friend who’s also an author, you can usually split a table.
As the saying goes, think outside the box. Do you write children’s books? Check with a local store that sells children’s clothing or toys. They might be willing to sell your books. Do you write about horses? How about the local equestrian store? If you live in a small community with only a few stores, one of them might be more than happy to promote the local author.
Check everywhere you think is a fit for your book. After all, asking is free.