Consignment programs are gaining in popularity. Indies provide several copies of their books, sign a consignment form, and (possibly) pay a fee while the booksellers provide space, engage in a variety of advertising, and host signing events.
Information made its way to me about a store in Colorado that has been supporting local indie authors; one of its spokespersons expressed that the store works to “try to treat each author with the respect they deserve.” R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Now that’s refreshing!
Consignment guidelines vary and requirements can include a “professional” book cover and spines with text, so certain stores will outright refuse to stock books that don’t meet such criteria. Other roadblocks might be subject-specific titles, the general interest of the store customer base, the book return policy, and lack of sales track record.
A common pay term is 60/40, with payment made after 90 days. Certain stores offer tiered payment options (pay-to-play), the fee dependent on the author’s choice of where the book will be placed, if the book information is to be included in the store newsletter and/or website, the store involvement in the creation of promo materials and the organization of signings, etc.
Note that damage and theft policies differ from store to store, with some that take full responsibility, while others take none.
Many copies of my first book, Tommy the Throwaway Dog, were stocked and sold at a bookstore in Illinois due to the popularity of the story in the area, and my happy acceptance to do a bookstore signing. The fact that the book has no text on the spine was irrelevant to the store (as should be the case with ALL such formatted works, easily displayed on tiered racks and tabletops). I envision the day when a great majority of indie works will be displayed and promoted by stores everywhere.
As we know, it takes a lot of work to promote books, so hats off to the open-minded bookstores for creating extra opportunity. Contact your local bookstores and ask to speak to the managers or book buyers about consignment options and guidelines. Whether you will need an appointment or may simply just drop by, the meeting could open new doors for you, and space for your wonderful work!
As a child, Laura Marlowe fell in love with books, poetry, and dogs. Later, Laura began writing poetry and short stories and worked to support animal rights. Her first published work, Tommy the Throwaway Dog, is especially close to her heart. She donates books and proceeds from the sales of the book, iBook and DVD and appears by invitation at special events and institutions to share her work as an author and animal welfare activist. In her spare time she listens to international music and travels. Her second educational children’s book, Roo B. Dee and the Lazy Day, is now delighting and inspiring youngsters and adults.