Marketing Advice

May 16 2018

Marketing Advice for the Very Small or Self- Publisher


NPR: The National Association of Independent Publishers Representatives is a trade association of more than three hundred commission reps nationwide who sell for book publishers. Our members are often asked to act as sales representatives for very small houses and, sometimes, self-published individual authors. Although reps sell for many large and well-established publishers, their daily bread and butter can be the offerings and the success of small independent houses. Reps are inclined to have a healthy respect for small or new publishing operations.

Nevertheless, book reps frequently have to say “no” to self-published authors and to publishers in the start-up phase. Our customers are booksellers in a highly competitive and cost-sensitive business and they are now intent on reducing the number of vendors they deal with and the expensive paperwork, time, and labor involved in dealing directly with publishers. Bookstores often prefer to use centralized wholesaler sources for very small or specialized publishers It is un-productive for an independent rep to spend selling time as a missionary generating low or non-commissionable business for wholesalers.

The “critical mass” for a viable rep/independent publisher relationship varies with the nature and the saleability of the product. A reasonable level of activity, we think, is probably a publishing program of ten or more new titles a year with a steadily developing backlist.

The purpose of this document is to offer some information and advice to authors and publishers whose plans, for the time being, are focused on one or two or a few titles. We hope that their business will grow and reach a point where independent sales representatives can be of effective help to them in expanding their market, sales and profits.

Please address comments to:

Ralph Woodward, Editor
Marketing Advice For the Very Small or Self-Publisher
111 East 14th Street, Suite 157
New York, NY 10003