Selling Books Is Hard

There are a number of things I’m happy about, when it comes to being represented by a (very) small publisher—the flexibility, the personal relationships, the feeling of being in a community working toward a common goal—but one of the things I’m jealous of, when it comes to authors published by the “big five,” is the vast, efficient machinery of bookselling.

I genuinely don’t know how you convince bookstores—especially big chains—to carry your books. I know the Big Five are able to do it and that my publisher isn’t. A Chapters/Indigo in my hometown used to have a few copies of Mouse on consignment, but it was too far away to reliably restock. I’m working on getting our new local bookstore/cafe to carry Displacement (and who knows, maybe Mouse, too) on a consignment basis, which isn’t perfect but when it washes out it’s about as profitable as you buying them from Amazon (and doesn’t feed the Amazon beast, which is a definite selling point—always buy local when you can!).

Cory Doctorow once said—in a conversation about book piracy and Creative Commons licensing, which is a topic for another day—that the greatest obstacle writers face isn’t piracy, it’s obscurity. And boy can I second that. I’m lucky that my publisher goes on the convention circuits and hawks my books to con attendees all over the place, so there are people out there in places I can’t get to who’re actively trying to sell my books to strangers, but it’s just another very firm reminder of how big the in-person market is—and how hard it is to access.

So for right now you can pre-order Displacement in hardcover online at Prospective Press, at Amazon.com, and at BarnesAndNoble.com—but I’ll be sure to let you know when Prospective Press is coming to your neck of the woods, and if and when it’s in Real™ brick-and-mortar stores you’ll hear that here, too.

Eleven days!

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Come on back tomorrow for another new excerpt from Displacement, and if you haven’t had the chance, check out the two previous ones, “The Test,” and “The Jenny Q Rule“!

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