Many self-published authors place a high premium on getting their books onto the shelves of local bookstores. For them, it affirms their work, and many are avid readers who love browsing local stores. Some even plan local store events as part of their book publicity programs. It's an excellent way to get media coverage in or near your hometown, which can be a perfect way to kick off a campaign. Local media are often favorable, and their coverage can be used in pitches that coincide with your bookstore event. Professional marketers have tips and tricks for how to do it, so read on for those.
Publishing an outstanding book is the first step, and working with an excellent cover designer helps. If you're a nonfiction author, take the subtitle seriously and make it descriptive and compelling. The back cover also matters to bookstores because much of the information to sell a copy goes on it. For example, the back cover blurb summarizes the book. The title and cover generally get someone to pick it up, and the blurb convinces them to purchase a copy. Pay attention to the importance of professional editing. Working with a seasoned editor can vastly improve your book in many ways.
Before selling books at retail, online, and brick-and-mortar stores, you need to determine a price. The lowest isn't always the best because it may cause some people to question your book's quality. Industry experts advise self-published authors to review other competing books in their genres. It's wisest to set a price within the range of others, perhaps toward the higher end at the beginning and then lower later. Some authors work with book distributors who can help get you into local stores and larger retailers. Big box stores have book aisles than can ring up surprisingly consistent sales.
If you're going to take matters into your own hands with your town's bookstore, be persistent but be polite. You can either visit in person or call ahead to arrange an appointment with the owner or manager. Some may be more accommodating than others, but most will take an interest in a local author. Planning your "pitch" in advance is essential – what you plan to say about your books. You'll want to be prepared with compelling ideas to spark their interest. It's helpful to prepare a sell sheet with facts and information about your book; include the ISBN and your contact details.