Post-publishing: Distribution

September 08 2016

Once you've done all the hard work developing, financing, editing and printing your publication (or going online), getting it our to people can be a daunting task.

It is important to start thinking about distribution at the beginning of the project, as it can affect things like how you might approach to financing the publication, the final form the publication may take, and how many copies you should print. Distributing a publication starts with by identifying who your audience is, utilising your existing networks, developing a promotional strategy, and expanding your networks. 

Booksellers NZ have published a fantastic two-part blog post on self-publishing on their website, Welcome to the wonderful world of self-publishing (pt.1) and How to promote a self-published book (pt.2) , alongside A guide to promoting your self-published book (.pdf)

I’ve picked out some of the highlights, but would thoroughly recommend heading to their website and reading the posts in full. 

Get an ISBN (before you go to print) 

International Standard Numbers (ISBN) are a publication's fingerprint, a world-wide identifier that helps publishers, suppliers, and libraries locate, order, and track published material. They are available free to New Zealand publishers of books and other print, electronic or multimedia publications. You can apply online through The National Library of New Zealand.

Develop a New Title Information sheet (NTI, also known at an Advance TI)

This is a single-page, A4 pdf that gives the publications full details and should include:

  • Cover Image
  • Title & subtitle
  • Author/s
  • Publisher
  • ISBN
  • Recommended Retail Price**
  • Format (hardback, paperback, spiral bound, CD in back etc)
  • Publication Date
  • Brief synopsis of book
  • Short Author, Artist or Editor Biography (optional)
  • Contact Details
  • Website and Social Media links

**Note that booksellers require a minimum 40% margin

Example New Title Information sheet for the Third Enjoy Five Year Retrospective Catalogue

Example New Title Information sheet for the Third Enjoy Five Year Retrospective Catalogue

List your book free with Nielsen

Nielsen BookData Online in a service that connects publishers, self-published authors & distributors with retailers, libraries and other book buyers worldwide. Once Nielsen has the information they will list the book on BookData Online at no cost, which means that if members of the public want to buy the book, they will be able to go into their local bookshop and ask for it. If the bookshop uses BookData Online they will find the book and be able to order it on the customer’s behalf.

To list your publication download the Title Record Form (.doc) and email the completed form and front cover image of your book (JPEG file, minimum 650 pixels high, 100 DPI, with the ISBN as the filename e.g. 9781234567890.jpg) to georgina.main@nielsen.com.

Also, consider:
  • Speaking about your book and/or hosting an event
  • Sending review copies to media that review publications
  • Approaching magazines and radio, particularly local media (this is where an NTI comes in handy)
  • Alternative retail stockists (depending on the nature of your publication)
  • Taking part in a zine fest or book fair

The New Zealand Society of Authors also have some great resources available for purchase and on their website.