Sunday, August 25, 2013

Distributing in New Zealand

I have heard that many authors' printed books do not sell well as their ebook counterparts on Amazon. I think that this is due to the price difference. I believe that it is even harder for Kiwi self-publishers to sell their books in NZ. Unless you have a close contact in distribution here, or you have an independent bookshop keen to sell your books, you will be left trying to find a book retailer by yourself. I have heard of maybe two self-published children's books that have been picked up for distribution – one is a Maori-language resource that took the author years to place in schools and kindys; the other is a quirky children's book that won major awards. I do not doubt that it took much determination and tenacity for both of these authors to break into the distribution and retailing markets here, but they did it. They produced a quality product, marketed it, put legs to it and promoted it at every chance they had. It can be done!
There are also avenues for distributing your ebooks here in NZ. If you want to see your ebooks sold in Whitcoulls, Fishpond and Booksellers, then publishing your book on Smashwords is a must. Smashwords distributes to Kobo, which in turn distributes to the above online retailers.
If you would like to get your ebook into your local library, you will need to connect with library distributors like Nielson's Book Database and Wheelers ePlatform. You can apply to each of these distributors for free, but both require a level of professionalism in your ebook. There is no guarantee that your ebook will be picked up by libraries, but these distributors will include your ebooks in their catalogues.
I know that CreateSpace offer a wider distribution offer for a price of USD$25, but their library distributions Overdrive and Ebsco don't include NZ books in their catalogues for US libraries.
Another way to get your book noticed in NZ is to submit your book to the New Zealand Post Awards. The 2014 awards are accepting ebooks submissions and this would be fantastic exposure for your book if it is short-listed!
Thank you to Lorraine Orman for the above information. I attended her workshop recently and learned a great deal about the NZ side of distributing your books. She was a wealth of information. Thank you, Lorraine.

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