Thursday, 25 June 2015

The Economics of Book Signings

This isn't exactly a widespread survey, but a friend of mine in London invited me to come down and visit for a few days.  As part of the visit, she suggested I contact some local bookstores and see if they'd be interested in doing a reading or signing.  This sounded like a good idea to me and so I pulled up Google and took a look.

I found two nearby bookstores, a local independent bookstore called the Oxford Book Shop and a local Chapters.  Both were very pleasant and prompt in replying to my awkward inquiry but I was due for a lesson in math and economics.

Oxford said they would be happy to host but I would be required to supply the books (that was expected).  They would carry them on consignment and take a percentage of the retail price for every book sold.  Unfortunately, the percentage meant I would end up losing money on each book, assuming I didn't raise the price (which struck me as a little unfair to do since I would then be charging more than the cost of a book on Amazon).

Chapters politely told me they would not host a reading for a self-published author, although the manager did do me the courtesy of telling me that she clicked through the link to my book and it sounded interesting.

I'm disappointed but I still feel that I've learned something.  And I'm proud of myself for trying.  I am not an adventurous person by nature and I'm finding the self-promotion side of publishing to be a challenge.  I guess I'm still clinging to an outmoded idea that if a book is good enough, it will automatically find its audience.  But I'm putting myself out there and even if I'm slower than I probably should be, I'll get there.

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