Authors’ Main Aim Pains 4 of 5: Distribution

Authors' Main Aim Pains 4 of 5: Distribution 1

This series of articles has focused on the Main Aim Pains experienced by authors, as identified by Notebook Publishing‘s Hayley Paige. This article’s focus is directed towards the fourth of these, namely that of Distribution.

Whenever a writer decides to undertake a new writing project, there is always the concern of not being able to secure its place in any distribution, retail or wholesale channels. If that is the case, if the book isn’t afforded a platform of sale anywhere, it is then rendered a flop because how can it then make sales?

Through various platforms now available to writers across the world, distribution channels are not nearly so difficult to access as they once were. As a prime example (pun intended), Amazon, the world’s leading book-seller, presents writers with the opportunity to publish and sell their book through Amazon’s own exclusive channel. This, on its own, means writers are now able achieve much more exposure than ever before, just through Amazon alone.

However, some writers choose not to use Amazon, predominantly owing to the potentially high cut of royalties the company takes. Which leaves an independent writer with more limited avenues to explore…

And then there are other options, such as Lulu, which, again, despite advertising their free platform and free access to their distribution channels, can cost so much in royalties an independent author is only able to make mere pennies from every book sale.

This can be seen through the Lulu website, which provides the following examples:

For a black and white paperback, with dimensions of 6″ x 9″ with a total of 200 pages:

Authors' Main Aim Pains 4 of 5: Distribution 2

And a 6″ x 9″ black and white hardcover with a total of 200 pages:

Authors' Main Aim Pains 4 of 5: Distribution 3

Avenues such as these—notably the free approaches to book-publication—then seem to leave writers to establish a balancing act between wanting wide distribution and also earning something—anything!—from their book sales.

This then leads to consideration of traditional publication.

As has been touched on in other articles, although this can, at first glance, appear to be the most well-respected and sought-after approach, it nonetheless incurs significant costs as a result of high royalties (with the author receiving between 10% and 15% of a book’s retail price) and, in some cases, the author’s own promotion- and book tour-related costs. (And this is without the all-too-common loss of rights.)

Which leads us to the intermediary publishing houses—most prominent of which include Author House and Xlibris. Although these publishers are paid large amounts of money with the promise of presenting their writers with the chance (note the word ‘chance’) of being stocked by a number of different distributors, the transaction generally seems to end when the shipment of books is sent out.

No author–publisher liaison.

No ongoing marketing and assistance.

No add-ons or perks.

Not unless more money is directed their way.

In other words:

Ongoing marketing requires further investment.

As do any efforts directed towards getting book-sellers on-board with actually selling the book.

And book signings are another expense.

Notebook Publishing has tackled this issue head-on, providing its writers with publication that further encompasses the positioning of their book in front of literally thousands of retailers, wholesalers and distributors across the globe. As an example, some of our worlrelationships include (but are notably not limited to) the following:

In the United Kingdom:

In the USA:


  • Amazon
  • Canadian general market segments, including chain retailers, independent retailers, internet stores, library suppliers, university college book stores, and wholesalers
  • Chapters/Indigo.

Australia and New Zealand:

Notably, all of our authors, regardless of location, benefit from the above-detailed relationships. (And there are so many more to detail; our connections encompass the globe!)

Furthermore, we also detail some of our authors in the Ingram Advance catalogue, which provides an additional level of exposure to the all-important retailers utilising the Ingram channel. This, when coupled with an industry-standard wholesale discount and the option for books to be returnable, positions a writer’s book as very likely to be stocked by Ingram retailers.

All in all, Notebook Publishing has come to recognise distribution as being one of the main sticking points of writers. Getting a book into the right people’s—or indeed companies’—hands can feel like an uphill struggle. This is why we have invested much of our time and effort in establishing and nurturing worldwide links to and relationships with our main retail, distribution and wholesale partners.

What is more, in addition to the relationships from which all of our authors can benefit, we have also started to design a number of additional approaches to worldwide distribution, markedly with a more personal feel and implemented through our own team’s manual efforts.

And although we cannot reveal the intricacies of these in-design methods, one thing is definite: we will succeed in getting our authors’ books into the right hands.

To sum up, distribution no longer needs to be one of the main pain points facing authors’ dreams of achieving their book-related goals. Through our attention to detail, our sincere desire to help our writers to achieve their aspirations, and our ongoing support, this obstacle all but disappears.

Let us focus on getting your book out there and into the right hands, stores and offices, and in front of the right professionals. You can then focus on writing your next book.

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