1. Block_Capitals
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    Block_Capitals New Member

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    Getting books into chain stores?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Block_Capitals, Jul 2, 2010.

    Unlike my last thread, I'll just come out and say it
    (no point beating about the bush I suppose)

    How do you get your book into Highstreet Chain Stores?

    What steps does a person have to undertake to see their book in
    Whsmiths, Barns and Noble etc etc.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Get a good agent. A good agent will present your book to the best publishers who can produce and market your book.

    The manuscript, of course, has to be good enough to interest both the agent and the publisher. You will have a lot of competition.
     
  3. izanobu
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    izanobu Senior Member

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    Sell your book to a publisher (a traditional one, not vanity/pay to publish). They get your book into stores :p
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you don't just 'sell your book to a publisher' that easily... and if it's fiction, your chances of doing that at all are slim to nil... do what cog said and get yourself a good agent to do that for you...
     
  5. DanielCross
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    DanielCross Member

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    Yeah, pretty much like everyone else said, getting an agent is the first step on the road towards publication. you could get get published without an agent, but i would highly recommend finding one. For a small cut of your earnings, your agent will most likely be your best friend when it comes to dealing with publishing houses, editors, etc. After all, if you dont get paid, they dont get paid.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    ...which will probably be higher anyway with an agent negotiating on your behalf.
     
  7. izanobu
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    izanobu Senior Member

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    15% is not a small cut :p To make up the difference, an agent would have to get more than an author could negotiating on their own, and not just 15% more either...

    for a great discussion (by professional writers who've all sold multiple books without agents) on exactly this topic, I offer a couple links with quotes (so it will be clear I'm not linkspamming).

    "Nobody needs an agent to get them a 10-30% raise–you simply ASK for a bit more. I got a 40% bump on my last deal per book simply because the publisher offered me an average genre advance even though they’d budgeted for more. All I did was ask for more (and some sundry details)." the rest of the comment is here http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=1311#comment-2579

    and also:

    Laura Resnick says in the same discussion "On my own, I’ve gotten increases of 10%, 20%, 80%, and 100% over the opening offers.

    The most an agent has ever pushed up an opening offer on my behalf is 25%–and that was only one agent at one house. On EVERY other agented deal in my career (including others negotiated elsewhere by that same agent), having an agent actually REDUCED my advance income, because the agent pushed up the opening offer by 0%-13%, thus not evening covering the cost of commission (15%)."
    and
    "In your example then, the publisher offers $10,000; the unagented author negotiates that up to $12,500 and no higher. In order not to COST that author money, the agent would thus need to be able to negotiate that advance up to $14,700–AND the author would have to NOT be able to negotiate it that high if unagented.

    So the formula for making an agent sale WITHOUT losing money on it is something like:

    Offer + Y + 17.64% = Viable Advance

    (Y = % by which author can himself negotiate increase in publisher’s opening offer)"

    comments quoted with the full comments found here: http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=1311#comment-2580
    and here: http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=1311#comment-2584

    A great agent can be a huge help. There's not that many of those and they don't generally read slush. A mediocre agent won't do more for the author than the author could do alone... and a bad agent can stall and/or kill your career. Do your research, think about the options, and go with what works best for you :) There isn't just one way to success.
     
  8. FrankB
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    FrankB Member

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    I agree that savvy writers, sans an agent, can often negotiate several aspects of the contract to their advantage. Simply by asking, I received a 25% higher advance and lowered the threshold of the number of books sold before escalating royalty percentages kicked in.

    But I'd been kicking around the writing business for nearly 30 years before shopping a book. I'd dealt with dozens of editors over the years and benefitted from advice from other authors I knew. In other words, I wasn't a wet-behind-the-ears newbie whose critical thinking faculties shut down upon contemplation of the words "published writer."

    Also, my book was non-fiction which, generally speaking, is easier to sell than a novel. If I was a novelist, I would expend every effort in landing a credible agent. Their list of services extend far beyond simply negotiating a contract. But if I failed to woo one, I'd look at smaller and medium sized (legitimate) houses which accept non-agented submissions. And I wouldn't hesitate to ask for (sensible) revisions to a proferred contract. All they can say is "no" and if you've been a writer for any length of time, you've dealt with that word plenty of times.
     
  9. izanobu
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    izanobu Senior Member

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    the worst the major publishers can say is "no" also :) why limit your options?
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    No, the worst a publisher can do is say yes and lock you into a suck contract that a decent agent would know better than to consider.
     
  11. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Can we not do this again, please? It's a circular argument, which never really ends. Conventional wisdom is to get an agent. Izanobu's argument is that you needn't bother. This discussion exists in several places within this forum, and really doesn't need to be redone.
     
  12. izanobu
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    izanobu Senior Member

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    you've got a point, Banzai :) I've linked to the evidence that holds up my thinking. I'm good.
     
  13. DanielCross
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    DanielCross Member

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    I'm not saying that an experienced writer absolutely needs an agent, but first timers? Oh yeah.

    We all think we're pretty smart on the first go round, but there is so much to learn and so many pitfalls a new writer can fall into, and seeing as how most first novels dont make it big and hence a small advance (i've seen as low as 5000), i would say an agent is a must for the newbies.

    After you've made a name for yourself, publishers will beg for the privilege of giving you money. But even then you might find it a hassle to do everything yourself and hire an agent to cover the basics.

    Also, I like Laura Resnick's writing. Anybody else think there is a whole lot of wasted potential there, especially her earlier in Legend Born series? Maybe I'll start another thread on it.
     
  14. Malone
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    Malone New Member

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    If you've published your novel through a company like Lightning Source, they (specifically Lightning Source) add your work to their catalog. Their catalog is used by most of the well-known book sellers, such as Amazon and B&N. So that kind of takes care of itself.

    B&N also has a policy (at least they used to, discussed on their website) that allows authors to approach the managers of their local B&N brick and mortar store and ask the manager to stock physical copies of the novel in the store. It's left up to the manager's discretion, so you'll have to pitch it to them.
     
  15. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Regarding the Laura Resnick comment, Laura Resnick also has a famous, well-connected science fiction writer father who know the ins and outs of the market extremely well. So she was raised in a family involved in the business. It is likely she knew a lot more starting out than most beginning authors do, and she definitely had a lot more resources to fall back on than most do. So it may well have been easier for her to do this on her own.
     
  16. lynca
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    lynca Member

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    I found out the hard way that not all local B&N managers are free to stock your books without headquarters approval. Oh, they might take a few on consignment from a local author, but to actually stock your book they want authors with big enough publishers with print runs instead of POD copies, which is what most smaller publishers use.
     
  17. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    A thing to be aware of, even if one's books are printed through Lightning Source (or similar outfit)...it is much more difficult to get books into chain stores unless they are returnable. This, is not automatic through Lightning Source and other printer/distributors of books.

    Terry
     
  18. lynca
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    lynca Member

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    The issue of returnable is not the main problem, at least with B&N in CA. My small publisher's books are returnable, but that's not good enough. The CRM said they will NOT stock POD books no matter what. They want publishers who do print runs so they can stock their books in their warehouse and have them available for their customers asap.
     

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