Gabriel Maybank || Published March 29, 2016
The simple answer to this questions is yes, if that is where your audience is. The complex answer is yes, but not in limitation to the same kind of brick-n-mortar store where every other book is located, i.e. the bookstore. Its research, its demand, creating interest with the people who are already interested in your topic, and its placing your product right in front of those people. Selling online seems so much easier and more efficient and less costly as far as keeping inventory is concerned, but if this was a track in field race, you are only competing in one leg of the four-by-four. There are three other legs missing to get you to that finish line. A well-oiled machine has many parts that do one thing to assist another to do that one thing and so forth. In whole they move the machine forward. This is what you want your book to do. Move you forward in sales by being in multiple places and formats to the people that are interested in it.
Finishing the book and getting all the copyrights, ISBNs, and barcodes for each edition to your book has a price itself, aside from buying copies to distribute. These are a must for any bookstore to even consider your self-published book. I‘ve gone into a bookstore and hardly see people actually reading books anymore. They are talking with friends, buying coffee, using the Wi-Fi on their phone or tablet, or studying. It is just as bad as getting buried by technology selling on the Internet. You don’t have to limit yourself to the bookstore. Let it be an avenue for purchase that people who have seen your work elsewhere can help push that leg forward. Narrow your audience and niche. This is a difficult thing to do, unless you have written on a very specific topic. Generally, a non-fiction book may have an easier time narrowing a niche than a fiction book. It all depends on whom you are writing to.
Now that you’ve discovered who it is that needs to read your work. Where would you find such a person? If it were not in a bookstore, why would you try so hard to get your self-published book there? It’s different for famous books and authors. Their books are supposed to be there. It is profitable for the bookstore owner to carry such selection. What business owners could profit from your book? Make a list of those kinds of business and seek them out. This is your third leg working to power the fourth in conjunction with the first and second.
The first leg is you; your word of mouth and letting friends and family know you wrote a book. The second leg would be online because it is the most cost effective way to move product without having to stock up on inventory, especially in the beginning stages after publication. The third leg is the niche specific places you find your audience. The fourth and final leg is the bookstore. Depending on the chain, if it’s a national store that equals national distribution if they elect to stock your book. Good luck!