How do readers find your book?
Your book is ready and available. But what happens now? Small and mini publishers must develop their own marketing and sales system in order to sell your publication successfully.
If you decide to bring your book to the readers by means of direct sales (sale at events, orders via your own website), you are also responsible for suitable storage of your books, order processing and shipping. Your own ISBN and registration with VLB are required so that your publication can also be found and ordered by bookshops.
What publishers cannot expect: That the bookseller will purchase the publication and place it on the shelf of its own accord. It will order the book at a customer’s request or take a copy on commission if you can convey to it that its customers could be very interested in the book. If there is sufficient demand, sales by means of the intermediate book trade also become important, which guarantees that your book is delivered overnight. Book trade customers expect to be able to collect a book they have ordered at their bookshop the next day.
Especially for digital publications, further distribution options are increasingly opening up. Social media platforms, the publication or author’s own website and blogs can provide valuable support in direct sales, since e-books have the potential to be sold directly to the readers with little time and effort.
The better connected the author is in his community, the bigger the chances are of attracting buyers. Of course, one must be willing to invest time and energy into maintaining one’s own shop. Another option is to supply online shops such as Amazon, Kobo, Apple, Google, etc. A contact point for the publication of e-books is, for example, KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) by Amazon. Or the work can be left to the professional distribution platforms (libreka!, Bookrix, bookwire, Neobooks, Xinxii, Feiyr, etc.) in exchange for corresponding participation in the income.
The different conditions, services and contractual terms for e-book distribution must be reviewed thoroughly and weighed against each other. This applies to all providers.
Find providers for distribution here:
More than 7,500 bookshops, over 24,000 publishing firms, distribution centres, publishing firm representatives, agencies and bookselling organisations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland are indexed at AdB-Online, the address book for the German-language book trade.
With its extensive information, such as the identification number for the book trade, ISBN, association affiliation, management or owner and specialist areas, it provides comprehensive information for the work in the bookselling industry.
Through an entry in AdB-Online, small and mini publishers make their necessary order information accessible and easy to find for all booksellers and librarians. In addition, the address book contains the official index of international standard book numbers in Germany.
You will find all the information at www.adb-online.de.
How does your publication reach new readers? Approximately 15,000 new publications are published each year in the fiction segment alone. Those who want to sell their book must therefore generate attention in the first instance. The time and financial investment for this is often underestimated by entrants. Experienced self-publishers know that successful book marketing can become more expensive than the production of a publication.
Advertisements are the most common way of drawing the attention of potential customers to a book. Industry magazines such as the Börsenblatt offer the chance to address the book trade directly with advertisements. It goes to all members of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association and other industry participants weekly and is the highest-circulating journal in the book industry. Additionally, members of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association receive a 50 per cent discount on advertisements (you can find all the information about the advantages of a taster membership of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association here).
Customer magazines such as the Buchjournal are purchased by the bookshops and are issued to their customers for free as a service. The Buchjournal, published by the German Publishers and Booksellers Association, is published with six issues per year and is the most-read book trade magazine.
Additionally, with trade fair magazines, such as the Livro-Magazin für besondere Bücher, you can generate even more reach for your publications at the book fair.
Find out more about advertisement formats and prices:
Marketing at local level
Marketing campaigns at local level are also of interest, especially for self-publishers. As an author, you can address potential readers in targeted fashion at your place of residence, for example through readings at libraries and in cooperation with associations and institutions that harmonise with your topic.
Approach your press work in a targeted manner. Address the representatives of your local media as well as the editorial departments of specialised media that deal with the topic of your book in terms of content. The chance of success here is significantly greater than in the cross-regional feature pages.
Research the direct contact to whom you will send a reviewer's copy and a page with information about your book and you. It should immediately become clear why the journalist/editor should be interested in your publication specifically.
Link your press release to event dates (readings) or other current events. Especially if your book has a local/regional link, it can be worthwhile presenting your publication to the local booksellers in person – in owner-managed stores as well as in the branches of large book retail chains. Might it be that a bookseller is interested in organising a reading with you or in setting up a bookstall at your next reading? Find bookshops in your region at AdB-Online.
If you have published a guidebook publication, you can contact corresponding specialist shops and score points there with your knowledge at an event and offer your book for sale.
It is important that you create your own personal network – personal recommendations are important to the success of a book!
Important for you: be creative! New paths in marketing can open one or two new doors and contribute to the awareness of your book.
Indispensable: careful address and mailing list maintenance
Remember to create an address mailing list – on this basis, it will be easier for you to issue communications regarding events, new publications, current information, etc. in future.
At readings, make available a list that interested parties can enter their names and e-mail address into – and do not hesitate to refer to this opportunity during the event. Include in each book sold a postcard for reader feedback. Wherever possible, refer to your website or the publication website, which, of course, include a contact field. And last but not least: maintain your mailing list, as the addresses are worth their weight in gold!