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5 Tips for Contacting Bookstores

In the last post in our “How to Get Your Book Into Bookstores” mini-series, we provided you with 5 tips for creating a professional book. Now that you have followed these tips and you have a professionally designed book, it’s time to get your book into stores!

However, before you begin contacting bookstores, there are a few things that you need to research and consider. The more research you do beforehand, the more prepared and professional you’ll be. As a now published author (or even as a small publisher!), maintaining a professional reputation is very important, especially when speaking with media and bookstore staff. Therefore, here are 5 tips for contacting bookstores:

1) Consider the Store’s Genre(s)

Before contacting every bookstore in your area to see if they will stock your book, it’s important to do your research, and that includes considering what genres the store carries. For example, if your book is a romance novel, you should not be pitching it to horror bookstores.

2) Review the Store’s Publishing Considerations and Restrictions

Every bookstore has strict rules surrounding stocking traditional vs. self-published books. Before contacting the bookstore, ensure that you have researched, read, and understood these rules. For example, some independent bookstores will not stock self-published books, while others will consider it so long as your book is a professional product. If you are unable to find this information on the bookstore’s website, contact the bookstore directly and inquire before pitching your book.

3) Review Your Book’s Price

If a bookstore has agreed to stock your book, they will get a cut from each copy sold. Therefore, you’ll need to ensure that you have priced your book fairly, and will still receiving adequate compensation. This is particularly important if you are working on consignment. If you are unsure how to price your book, do not hesitate to get in touch to schedule an expert consultation with one of our book marketing experts.

4) Obtain the Book Buyer’s Contact Information

Often, bookstores have multiple staff members, with only a few responsible for buying books for the entire store. Therefore, rather than calling or visiting a bookstore and hoping that someone will pass your information on to the right person, make the effort to determine who the book buyer(s) is at each store you plan on contacting. This way, you can ensure that your book is getting into the right hands.

5) Consider the Store’s Social Media Footprint

This last tip is often overlooked, but it’s still important as more people are relying on social media for their news than ever before. While researching each store, review their social media footprint (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) to see how many followers they have, how much engagement (likes, comments, and shares) each post receives, and if they offer a spotlight on new arrivals or local authors. This knowledge can help determine the best bookstores to target.

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Do you have any best practices for contacting bookstores?