Self-published ebook authors are growing in popularity, but getting exposure can be particularly challenging. A self-published ebook author faces the same exposure issues as a traditionally published book author. In spite of their growing popularity, ebooks can get even less exposure than print books. One alternative is short run printing.

Authors & small publishers should consider short run printing to generate exposure for their projects, even if the primary focus is on e-book sales. Print copies of books can be offered at local book stores, fairs, conventions, libraries, and other events to help with exposure, and eventually, sales.

We’ve compiled a few pointers for gaining exposure for an ebook through short run printing:

Pitching to Bookstores

Getting a book into bookstores is the biggest challenge for self-published authors, yet these stores can yield a positive return on the investment. Unless you have a local connection to the big box store, skip the large chain stores entirely. Stocking is handled by district purchasing managers, not store managers, and many chain stores have company policies against displaying self-published work. Instead, pitch the book to small, independent bookstores.  The locations may not be ideal, but small stores have strong, local customers who want to support authors.

The store manager is more likely to take you seriously if you – and more importantly your book – present a professional appearance. It is especially important to have an ISBN and barcode. If the manager likes what they see, they will explain their store’s display policies. In general, you will need to provide the books, and the store will pay you for any books that sell. Copies that don’t sell before the display comes down will be returned to you.
 If the manager is enthusiastic about your book but cannot display it or sell it at the time you request, ask if the store hosts readings or book signings. Ask to partner with them on an event, and in exchange, you will sell your book at the event on that day only. Use the event to network with the people you speak with, you may find other PR opportunities through the event. Don’t get discouraged if the initial answer is no, keep following up. It may take several conversations to gain approval and move forward.

Other Ways to Get Exposure

Libraries love local authors and are often eager to host events for them. Speak with your library’s event coordinator about what your options are. Don’t forget to notify local newspapers and websites about the event to help gain an even wider audience.

Coffee shops can also serve as means of exposure. Many coffee shops cater to local artists and authors, and owners are happy to host an event. Incorporate a theme from your book to make the event friendly to the general public, something that will attract the most people. For example, if your book is a romance, look for a calendar date to go with the theme. Obviously the entire month of February will work; but what if you want to kick off the event in the summer or fall?  Again, notify local news sources to increase exposure not only for the event, but also for the book.

Reviewers are another great resource, and having a print copy of your book will broaden the circle of reviewers you can approach. A great way to find reviewers is by researching blogs that relate to the topic of your book. The blogger may not make a habit of reviewing books, but if your book topic is related, they would be happy to receive a complimentary print or electronic copy and review it.  You should have an online portal set up so the blogger can link to a page for readers to purchase the book, giving them an option to purchase either version.
In conclusion, ebook retailers are embracing self-published ebooks. Authors and small publishers should not discount the ability of the print version to gain exposure for the ebook, as self-published ebook authors are achieving New York Times bestseller status. The royalties and returns on a bestselling ebook can be very rewarding, and will more than cover the cost of a short run print book to help with exposure. Gasch Printing is prepared to help all of our customers with storefront displays, setting up an ordering system for customers to order the book directly from us or the author, and providing you with a file in ebook format for easy submission. Partner with Gasch Printing for your project, we take our customer service seriously, and we’re ready to help you every step of the way.