Sure, we all want to look on shelves at Barnes and Noble and see our books there. It's thrilling. But it's really not necessary. I see so many authors waste their time and money paying distributors and driving from store to store, delivering books when they should be selling directly to public. The Internet makes it possible.
In fact, there are many good reasons NOT to be in bookstores:
ˇYou don't have to pay a distributor, who will take a cut of your profits. ˇYou don't have to worry about shipping and returns. ˇYou don't have to fight for shelf space.
In most cases, selling direct to public, or through bulk sales to institutions, is a much better way to turn your book into a revenue stream. With Internet, tradeshows and other events, and seminars, you have multiple ways to sell direct, pocket 100% of profits, and save yourself hassle of trying to get into Borders.
I also recommend selling on Amazon.com. They do take a substantial chunk of your sales price, but it's a wonderful way to generate buzz about your book. Otherwise, unless you can truly benefit from prestige of being on bookshelves, leave bookstores to John Grisham and Stephen King.
Pursue bulk sales.
Ninety percent of new authors are only focused with getting people into bookstores to buy their book. And it's great if you can do that, but I give them all same advice: do not overlook bulk sales. They can turn your book from a money-loser into a profit center in a few months. Bulk sales are a gold mine.
What do I mean by bulk sales? I mean selling your books in large quantities to an organization, which could mean anything from a corporation to a school district to a non-profit group to a church. You'll have to give organization a price break for buying in bulk, but you'll get dozens, hundreds or even thousands of your books into people's hands, which dramatically increases your word-of-mouth and viral marketing.
Promoting bulk sales is a pretty straightforward deal. Simply look at your book and ask yourself what companies, organizations or affinity groups would be interested in book for their employees or members. If you've written a book on corporate team building, make a list of corporations where you have personal contacts. If your book is about exercise for seniors, try contacting AARP. And so on. Marketing bulk sales is usually about personal contact, either by letter or direct mail.