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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Marketing- Follow-up on Consignments

Today, my sister-in-law helped me get organized and make calls to follow up on consignment placements of North Country Cache. I really despise doing this kind of work, so this feels like a huge weight off my shoulders.

Marketing is one of the most difficult parts, OK, THE most difficult part, of self-publishing. You have to get books into book stores for people to see them. Many stores won't buy books outright. They want the author to take all the risk by placing books on consignment.

Consignment is a huge risk. Not only do you need to do all the follow-up, finding out if books have sold and requesting payment, but there is a hidden risk as well. Independent bookstores can go out of business in a flash, and if they do, your books will probably disappear into a black hole and you'll never see any money.

At least four stores where I had books on consignment are just gone. In one case, I know that all six copies they had were sold, and I never received the money. In other cases, I don't really know, but suspect that the books all went to discount houses. Cost to them... nothing, since they never paid me for the books in the first place. Cost to me... at least the cost of printing each book, if not more.

Only one store that I called today wanted to order more books, and one store wants to return the rest of what they have, and I have to pay the shipping.

It's interesting how various stores feel about keeping inventory. Some stores won't keep your book in stock if they don't sell in a year. Others are willing to keep a few copies, apparently indefinitely.

Well, at least now I've done the checking on all these for a while. I wish I could say I won't do any more consignment sales, but that's not practical either. Sigh.

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