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I had been delivering books to subjects of Finding Faith in the City Care Forgot for two and a half months and had nine left. I could have saved a lot of money. None of them remembered that the release form they signed entitled them to a free book. One man commented how on kind I was to give him a copy.

My publisher’s marketing department was ahead of me in the marketing marathon. I asked them to slow the pace so I could finish distributing the complimentary copies. On the heels of that request, I scheduled three churches and three events. So much for a slower pace and accomplishing one goal at a time.

Then a hurricane blew through town canceling six opportunities to sell books. A week of no electricity, phone service, and internet withdrawals later, I started rescheduling. Two churches rescheduled. One declined indefinitely. I was disappointed by the loss, until I received an invitation to address a joint book club meeting. Book clubs are guaranteed sales. For a while, it appeared the hurricane also cost me an opportunity to sell books at an international woman’s conference in Houston. Until the speaker, who had contributed her story to my book signed a consignment deal to sell them for me.

While we were signing the consignment deal, my cell phone rang. Sabrina wanted to know where she could find my book. Her husband had already brought twelve books to the Gideon’s International Conference in Dallas, and they wanted more. I met Sabrina and her husband at a garage, where the tire on their truck was being replaced, thinking they wanted one or two books. They wanted ten. I only had seven.

Three times that week, I’d been asked, “Where can I find your book?”

The average reader is unaware of the massive changes in the publishing industry and has misconceptions about authors. Some thought I was rich, famous, and my book was in bookstores. Bookstores buy from distributors. Distributors buy from publishing houses. Buying from a distributor assures the retailers the book is a quality product fully vetted for accuracy with the grammar glitches polished out and formatted without flaws. And the unsold books can be returned to the distributor. The distributor returned them to the publisher. The publisher deducted the royalties from the authors next check and bore the loss. Books independently published carry none of those guarantees.

The average authors reality is not as glamorous as sudden wealth and fame. There were two places to buy my book: from me and online. Some small bookstores will take books on consignment. But that carries risk for the author. A friend returned to a book store to settle a consignment deal. The books she left sold, but the staff had changed. They could not find their copy of the consignment deal and refused to accept her copy as legitimate.

Even though my book was available from distributors that retailers used to purchase books at wholesale cost, they prefer titles by famous authors to guarantee sales. By the time the publishers, distributors and bookstores took their cut, the author makes about a $1 a book. New books by unknown authors sell an average of 300 books. According to agents I have talked to, if a book sold 5,000 copies the industry considered the book a success.

Few authors attain the high-volume sells that make one rich and famous.  


2 thoughts on “WHERE CAN I FIND YOUR BOOK?

  1. So true, Teena. Few authors make it rich, but we write because we have to. I once read a story about the prolific Christian writer Andrew Murray. He said he felt like a hen always ready to lay an egg. That’s how I feel at times. I must write because God has called me to write, and God takes care of the rest.


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