Does it Fit in the Front?

Last time, I talked about the fact that you need to determine where your book fits as far as the category or area of a shelf in a store. When I asked, "Where does your book fit"? a few of you might have thought "on that nice table right up front!" And I'm sure most of us would love to be right by the cash register or proudly displayed on the table by the door.

While it would be nice if everyone's book really could get a shot at that kind of placement, there's only so much of that kind of space available at any given store. So how do you make your book a good fit there? What many authors do not realize is that much of the time, you make it fit by paying to make it fit.

That's right, those spaces are for sale and it's a perfectly normal promotional strategy. One common term for this is "pay for placement". For example, a publisher might buy a space in a big seasonal display, or the end cap of a shelf or other high traffic area. Obviously, big traditional publishing houses have an advantage here as pay for placement is not cheap they usually have more funds to pull off both buying the space and the PR campaign to make the books sell (otherwise they can lose their shirts if they don't).

Is it going to be tough for a small or micro-publisher to get a book into one of these spaces? As far as the big chains go, yes. Does that mean if you aren't published with a big press you should give up entirely on getting good attention in a store? Not necessarily.

What it does mean though is that you need to be realistic. Don't expect your first novel that you independently published to be on that front table at B & N. However, you still have other options. Instead of being upset over what you may not be able to do, put your energy into what you can.
Check out smaller stores, and seriously consider non-bookstores where your book is a good match with the rest of the store's products (think book featuring train travel in a hobby shop). That valuable piece of shelf-real estate might just be hiding in plain sight after all.

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett

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