Bookstore Events

A bookstore will host a launch event for me, how do they get my books?

Bookstores or other venues can order books one of three ways:

  1. The author consigns the books and takes back any returns.  This is preferred if the bookstore does not plan to carry any remaining copies.
  2.  The bookstore can buy from us. Please allow two weeks minimum lead time. They receive a 40% discount and free shipping over $100. They can return unsold copies to us for credit. They place their orders by phoning 1-855-338-8359 x1 or by emailing orders@sunburypress.com. We will process the order and give them 30 days to pay if we approve their credit. Alternately, they can order directly off the website and use coupon code VC40. They will need to prepay for the order with a credit card.
  3. The bookstore can order from Ingram. The author and publisher make the least profit from this method, but it is more convenient to the bookstore in most cases.

Also, be sure to check in with us to be sure your local bookstore is on our list.

Book Sales Expectations

Q: What kind of sales can I expect from my books? How well do Sunbury Press’ best sellers do?
A: Sunbury Press, Inc. is a privately-held corporation. Information about company performance is not made public to protect the privacy of the shareholders. Likewise, the performance of individual titles, except where available through information aggregators like Nielsen Bookscan or Amazon, is tightly-guarded so as to respect the privacy of our authors. Information from those aggregators does not capture 100% of the market. They completely miss Sunbury’s direct sales to readers and direct distribution to independent bookstores and other venues.
Book sales for individual titles range widely from near zero, to the many thousands over the life the book. About 80% of our titles do not break even over their lives. It is the 20% of successful titles that carry our business. Of that successful one-fifth, only a small portion of them do exceptionally well.
Nonfiction generally performs twice as well as fiction in our experience. Generally, only about 30% of nonfiction titles break even or better while 15% or less of fiction titles do so. Nonfiction has the benefit of SEO discovery and is more likely to be of interest to the media so as to gain earned media opportunities. Fiction success is more unpredictable.

Keys to success with fiction:

  1. The author is actively selling books – making appearances at conventions, bookstores, and other events – (as long as the author is not too shy and unable to connect with readers)
  2. The cover, description, and subject matter align with the book’s categories and quality expectations.
  3. The author is active on social media on at least one platform.
  4. The author has a website, is actively promoting themselves as an author, is building a following and an email list
  5. The author has a presence on Goodreads and Amazon Author Central and uses the features and functions of the sites to their advantage.
  6. The author is writing a series or the body of work is related in some way.
  7. The author is releasing new books at least once a year, preferably every six months.
  8. The author and/or publisher is actively seeking film or television opportunities as well as foreign translation opportunities.
  9. The publisher has placed the book(s) in the major marketplaces and channels of distribution, has priced the book in alignment with the category, and has produced the book in the demanded product forms (print and ebook at a minimum).
  10. The book wins a legitimate award or receives significant endorsements or accolades.
  11. The author is putting out content that entices readers to read the whole book and invites readers into the story

What doesn’t work well for fiction:

  1. Paid print advertising.
  2. Paid television or radio advertising.
  3. Paying a publicist.
  4. Sending press releases.
  5. Most SEO-oriented pay-per-click or (worse) pay-per-impression advertising.
  6. Most Facebook ad boosts. (If the author has a medium to large following, boosts can help)
  7. Most blog tours. (unless the author finds very relevant blogs and is choosy)
  8. Most BookBub or other free giveaway campaigns. (we’re still trying to figure out how this might work for our authors, but so far it hasn’t done much)
  9. Most book signings at Barnes and Noble or other big chain stores.

Fiction Book Releases (Soft and Grand Openings)

Q: When will my novel be released?

A: Historically, publishers have a long lead-time from contract signing until the book is released. This is a throw-back from the days of paper manuscripts and snail-mail. Today, things move along much faster.

Sunbury Press does not deal with paper manuscripts. The entire process, from submission, contract signing, to book release is done electronically. We communicate most often through email and public posts on our website. We do this for efficiency and to free our staff to concentrate on editing and getting your books out the door. For fiction, we are also moving to a single point of contact, so you have access to the primary person in charge of your book’s publication. Internally, at Sunbury Press, we work together, but there are no review boards or long review processes to contend with. We’re a small company of professional, hardworking people committed to publishing good books.

We have over 800 fiction manuscript submissions in our queue right now, with more coming in every day. We are working as fast as we can to evaluate and get back to the authors that submit to us. The only way we can hope to better serve all those authors, is to streamline our process. And that is just what we are doing.

Once we take on your novel and the contract has been signed, your book will be released within three months, sometimes even faster depending on the quality of your manuscript and the workload in our queue.

This quick pace might not allow you the time to do all the set up necessary to properly release your book to the world. If you are a new author, you’ll want to setup a new website, Facebook page, get a list of family and friends to help you, etc. So, we recommend that no matter the date that your book is available for purchase, you choose your own Book Announcement date far enough into the future that you have time to prepare. You can think of this as a ‘Soft Opening,’ and ‘Grand Opening’ model. For the Soft Opening, your book is out there selling and available for more reviews. For the Grand Opening, you announce your book with parties, emails, and whatever else you are planning. This lead time also allows you to purchase books (at discount) and have them on hand for your Book Announcement party(s) to sign and/or giveaway.

As an example, your book might be released on April 1st. But you schedule your Book Announcement or Grand Opening on June first. You will have time to work with local bookstores and establishments to plan your party(s), order and get books, make sure you have your website and other pages up and running and your author pages on Amazon and Goodreads ready. In this way, you can maximize the effectiveness of your Book Announcement.

Authors spend a good amount of time slaving over the words, trying to create the best story. But after it’s complete, they are anxious to get it out to the world. We understand! Many of us at Sunbury are also authors. We believe this model will serve authors wants and needs but still give time to give your book the splash you hope for.

One final note, Sunbury Press loves a big splash, just like any publisher. But we prefer the long, slow burn to the quick flash and then burn out. So, plan your big Grand Opening, but also make your plans staggered throughout the year to keep interest flowing and growing your readership. And then write another book! 😉

-Chris Fenwick

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