In the book business, determining where your target audience shops and how to get your books into those places is called developing a distribution strategy.
While every author wants to walk into their local bookstore and see their books prominently displayed on the selves, there is much more to consider when developing your distribution strategy. Some authors leverage their professional connections to make sales – i.e. book as business card. Others teach classes and sell their books to students and/or attendees. Still others sell their books through their churches or they partner with websites.
There are innumerable ways to distribute your book and it takes some trial and error to find the right distribution channels. Since every book is different, we wanted to see if there was a pattern as to where authors sold their books.
We asked 4000 of Lulu’s best selling authors where they sold their books. Here’s what they had to say:
Distribution channels for authors, both traditionally published and self-published, are changing. With the closing of large brick-and-mortar booksellers, all publishers are reevaluating their distribution strategy. In August 2013, Bowker released a study citing a 5% increase in online book sales in the U.S., up to 44% of total book sales compared to 39% in 2011.
What does this mean for you? As an author, you must focus on your audience and develop the best distribution strategy for them. If you are communicating with your audience through your existing channels or through online networks and communities, Lulu.com’s marketplace can be a strong component of your distribution strategy. If you need to target a broader audience that seeks content all over the Internet and online stores, you may want to expand to additional retail distribution channels.
Getting Your Book Noticed
E-book Formatting Fairies did a survey of readers in August 2013 that revealed fantastic insights into how readers perceive books and authors. We’ve compiled a few highlights of their findings below:
- 95% of respondents were more likely to buy a self-published book from an author who is known to them.
- When asked where readers get information about new books, Facebook came in first place.
- When readers were asked where they get information about their favorite authors, Facebook and author websites were virtually tied. These findings reinforce the need for author’s to create and maintain author platforms that incorporate both social media and author websites.
What Should You Do?
Ask your readers or people in your target market how they discover new books and where they shop for them. The answers to those two questions are the key elements in developing your distribution strategy.
Create an online presence from which potential readers can learn more about you and your book.