What a difference a distributor makes

Such a lot has happened in the ten days since I launched What Are You Doing Here?  I thought the learning curve would flatten and the workload slow down after I’d launched the book.  Not so.

I expected marketing to take up lots of my time, and it has. I’ve arranged talks to community groups and recorded my first radio interview and started sending copies out for review.  What took me by surprise was how much time and effort is involved in distribution. I was dimly aware that this could be time consuming, but I underestimated just how much is involved in processing orders, preparing invoices, packaging books and running down to the Post Office.

An unexpected turn of events

Initially I decided not to try to get a distributor, partly because I didn’t think I could afford to and partly because I wasn’t sure that a distributor would be interested in a self-published book.

I sent a copy of the book to a buyer at a large bookseller and almost forgot about it because I expected that even if they liked the book, they would not want to deal with a self-publisher. It turns out they did like the book but would be interested in taking it only if I had a distributor. How long did it take me to arrange a distributor? Slightly over 24 hours.  A few days later I delivered a load of books to the distributor.

Loading books to deliver to the distributor

Loading books to deliver to the distributor

What’s so great about a distributor?

Far fewer boxes of books in the spare room. I know that just because the boxes are gone doesn’t mean the books are sold, but I kept my print run small, so I was never going to be left with a ridiculously embarrassing number of unsold books. Still, it was daunting seeing the boxes.

No more messing with paper, parcel tape and bubble wrap and no more hanging around in queues in the Post Office.

Simplified business procedures because the distributor will deal with the bookshops.

My book in bookshops!

I can get back to writing.

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