Getting Your Books Into Stores (A Little Writing Rant)

This week’s “My Writing Week” post is going to be a bit different, and a bit rant-y. See, yesterday I read some great tips on BookLife about how to get your self-published books “out there” to places other than e-retailers – you know, real stores. (You can read it here: “DIY: How to Get Your Indie Book Into Stores and Libraries“)

This article was quite timely because I’ve been compiling a list of libraries around the country that I plan to contact to ask if they’ll consider carrying my upcoming novel The Trials of HerculesAnd also timely because I just got three of my non-fiction books onto the shelves of my local greengrocer’s shop – all I had to do was ask and he was very glad to stock my books. However….

The Rant – An Open Letter to Indie Bookstore Owners

The BookLife article is inspiring and I do plan to ask (beg?) some local indie stores to stock my book. Unfortunately, some indie stores will not carry books from indie authors, even those who have a professional attitude, excellent marketing plan, and strong book.


Because many self-published authors publish print books through Createspace. Since Createspace is an Amazon spin-off, the stores think that banning Createspace books keeps money out of Amazon’s pockets. This is ridiculous. The stores aren’t hurting Amazon, they’re hurting independent authors.

book, trials of hercules, osteria chronicles

My book is not the devil, despite what some indie bookstore owners may think.

Now, why do writers use Createspace? Createspace is one of the (as far as I know, please correct me if I’m wrong) only places to publish a print book with no cost to the author. You don’t need to purchase an ISBN, you don’t need to pay set up fees, you don’t need to place minimum orders, etc.

I know no book can be published completely for free and I’m willing to spend money on marketing a book. What I don’t want is the expense of paying for the business licenses, business name registration, and business permits from my city and county just to have my own publishing company. I also don’t want the expense of paying for my own ISBNs. (Createspace does have a $10 ISBN option to put your own publishing company as the official publisher, but for that I need a registered business name and then that goes back to all those business set up fees.)

So, Createspace becomes the go-to publisher for budget conscious authors and works perfectly well until you encounter those few stubborn independent bookstore owners who are anti-Createspace. Because these owners are afraid of Amazon getting a small portion of the money from the book’s printing costs, they completely refuse to stock any Createspace title. They won’t even look at a book that has Createspace as the publisher of record.

But these bookstores may be unwittingly stocking Createspace titles anyway. How can you, dear Bookstore Owner, know for certain you aren’t carrying a Createspace book? Remember that $10 ISBN option? That $10 allows an author to list their own publishing company’s name as publisher to keep Createspace’s name off the book. Createspace is still publishing the book and Amazon is still earning that tiny bit of money from the book. Indie store owners who think they are sticking it to the Amazon Man, by not taking Createspace books may in truth have a fair number of Createspace-published books on their shelves.

So please, bookstore owners, judge a book on its own merit, on the writing skill, on reader reviews, on the author’s marketing ability, not on who printed the book. Please stop refusing Createspace titles outright. You’re not going to bring down Amazon by doing so, you’re only making life harder for indie authors who may just have a product that will boost your sales.

And I’ve once again updated the Media Kit for The Trials of Hercules. Go ahead, take a peek: Media Kit – The Trials of Hercules (PDF)

Have a great weekend everyone, and if you know an independent bookstore owner, please ask them to consider Createspace-published books (and perhaps mention my books – hint hint). And as always, feel free to comment below!

And since I’ve been making lists, I thought this scene would be appropriate:

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