Market Your Book: Developing a Distribution Strategy

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In the book business, determining where your target audience shops and how to get your books into those places is called developing a distribution strategy.

While every author wants to walk into their local bookstore and see their books prominently displayed on the shelves, there is much more to consider when developing your distribution strategy. Some authors leverage their professional connections to make sales – i.e. book as a business card. Others teach classes and sell their books to students and/or attendees. Still others sell their books through their churches or they partner with websites.

There are innumerable ways to distribute your book and it takes some trial and error to find the right distribution channels. Since every book is different, we wanted to see if there was a pattern as to where authors sold their books.

We asked 4000 of Lulu’s best selling authors where they sold their books. Here’s what they had to say:

Marketing Series 3 Where to sell your books

Distribution channels for authors, both traditionally published and self-published, are changing. With the closing of large brick-and-mortar booksellers, all publishers are reevaluating their distribution strategy. In August 2013, Bowker released a study citing a 5% increase in online book sales in the U.S., up to 44% of total book sales compared to 39% in 2011.

What does this mean for you? As an author, you must focus on your audience and develop the best distribution strategy for them. If you are communicating with your audience through your existing channels or through online networks and communities,’s marketplace can be a strong component of your distribution strategy. If you need to target a broader audience that seeks content all over the Internet and online stores, you may want to expand to additional retail distribution channels.

Getting Your Book Noticed

E-book Formatting Fairies did a survey of readers in August 2013 that revealed fantastic insights into how readers perceive books and authors. We’ve compiled a few highlights of their findings below:

  • 95% of respondents were more likely to buy a self-published book from an author who is known to them.
  • When asked where readers get information about new books, Facebook came in first place.
  • When readers were asked where they get information about their favorite authors, Facebook and author websites were virtually tied.  These findings reinforce the need for author’s to create and maintain author platforms that incorporate both social media and author websites.

What Should You Do?

Ask your readers or people in your target market how they discover new books and where they shop for them. The answers to those two questions are the key elements in developing your distribution strategy.

Key Takeaway

Create an online presence from which potential readers can learn more about you and your book.

Additional Resources

12 thoughts on “Market Your Book: Developing a Distribution Strategy”

  1. Mary P. Nicol

    I published my first book with Lulu and had a home page. It is some time since I visited Lulu and don’t know how to get to my home page, or my book!!! Everything seems different now and I don’t know what to do!!

  2. Hi Mary – do you remember the email address you used to create your Lulu account? If yes, then use it to log into your account. You can get to your book by clicking on the “My Projects” link. You can get to your spotlight page by clicking the link on the left side of the “My Projects” page. Welcome back!

  3. Sipi Kemeasuode

    I have published my book to LuLu since 3 months now. Then to complete the procedure for marketing my book is the problem. I have been trying to assess it but it always ends in submission of ISBN. And it says the isbn I bought has been assigned to another author. I am yet to upload my book cover. Pls what’s the way forward.

  4. Hello Sipi – have you contacted our Support team? Keep in mind that ISBNs cannot be reused. Each version of a book must have a new number.

  5. Great article. I particularly like the survey and chart showing where authors sold their books. It shows that the author website is pretty important and that online avenues are more important than brick and mortar for sales.

    1. I chanced upon
      I have yet to try it due to time constraints but it looks as if it can be followed through.
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  6. My book “The Road to Freedom” published awhile ago by Lulu. Most of my book was sold by me at meetings locally. I do not think that Lulu done a good job selling my book. Most people who bought my book from Lulu because I told them about Lulu’s sight.
    Violet Kelemen

  7. @Violet – Lulu provides free tools for authors to publish and distribute their books. We do not, however, provide free marketing services. Like many of our authors, you found your audience within your network and promoted your book to them directly. Well done!

  8. @Mary P. Nicol – Log into your Lulu account using your email address. Then go to My Projects. Your books will be listed on that page. You will see a link on the left for “Author Spotlight.” Click that to view your page.

  9. Pingback: Week 11: Market Research – Welcome

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