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Author Topic: Indie Authors Wanted  (Read 4590 times)  

Offline Herefortheride

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #50 on: December 29, 2017, 05:28:59 AM »
I was confused when in the States, to learn that shop assistants subsist on commission instead of a regular wage. Also, in Florida at least, the shops seem to vanish from one year to another. So I assume there are no leases, just rented shelf space. Not something we would have in England, certainly, although we do have a system of beauticians, nail technicians and the like renting space in an established hairdressing salon. I suppose it is a similar thing.

It might differ between states but every state I've lived in had a regular wage plus commission or at the low end your wage vs. commission. You get whichever would be higher. I've never heard of rented shelf space in the States.

I also saw a lot of questionable things in the UK and Australia but I don't see how that is relevant to this conversation.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2017, 05:41:16 AM by Herefortheride »
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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #51 on: December 29, 2017, 05:38:28 AM »
I've never heard of shop assistants being paid solely on commission. They are always paid at least the normal minimum wage. If there is any commission on top of that, I believe it's the exception, not the rule. Stores like Nordstrom's do pay some commission, but I've never heard of it happening in book stores. Doesn't mean that it doesn't, but I don't think it's all that common.
I'm only repeating what a particular shop assistant told us in a small clock shop in Florida. I suppose renting shelf space could be a good way to get physical sales, but only if the shop is one of the bigger stores.


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Offline PamelaKelley

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #52 on: December 29, 2017, 05:42:17 AM »
I'm only repeating what a particular shop assistant told us in a small clock shop in Florida. I suppose renting shelf space could be a good way to get physical sales, but only if the shop is one of the bigger stores.

That one small clock shop may be the exception then. I've worked in many stores including music and books and was never paid anything more than minimum wage.

Offline Herefortheride

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #53 on: December 29, 2017, 05:49:10 AM »
That one small clock shop may be the exception then. I've worked in many stores including music and books and was never paid anything more than minimum wage.

That similar to what I' familiar with.

I think it's better not to make claims based on "one shop assistant told me X" and then label a country of 300+ million people.  :'(
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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #54 on: December 29, 2017, 07:41:43 AM »
That similar to what I' familiar with.

I think it's better not to make claims based on "one shop assistant told me X" and then label a country of 300+ million people.  :'(
I didn't. I talked about the clock shop; someone else labelled the whole country.

Of course, neither was in any way prejudice and I see no reason to make such a big deal out of it. Americans do things differently to the English, the Scots, the Welsh, Irish, Australians, Canadians and everyone else. Why anyone should decide to take offence at that I cannot imagine.

So where are we? Shelf space is sometimes rented, but not at $75 for three months in a little gift shop somewhere in Florida.


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Offline MClayton

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #55 on: December 29, 2017, 07:43:03 AM »
I was confused when in the States, to learn that shop assistants subsist on commission instead of a regular wage. Also, in Florida at least, the shops seem to vanish from one year to another. So I assume there are no leases, just rented shelf space. Not something we would have in England, certainly, although we do have a system of beauticians, nail technicians and the like renting space in an established hairdressing salon. I suppose it is a similar thing.



I bet the shop you visited was a consignment shop. There are many in my area of Florida, and interestingly enough, they work in the same way the OP is describing. Many of them have shelf space for rent and also keep a percentage of the sale (although some may do one or the other, but not both). The ones I've visited tend to sell either art, vintage clothing, or antiques, and are typically located in the downtown, trendy (or historic) area of town. Once upon a time, years ago, I encouraged my mother to sell her Depression-era glass in one, but the store didn't have a blanket insurance policy on merchandise - individual sellers had to purchase their own insurance - so she decided not to do it.

It's not an unusual way for a specialty store to run in touristy parts of Florida, but as others have pointed out, probably doesn't work for books. Antiques and original art will earn the seller a lot more than a book will (and the sellers tend to be local), so it makes more sense to rent shelf space and take a percentage of the profit for items like that.

Edit to add: Situations like that are perfect for someone like my mother (or at least would be if they were insured), because she has a ton of merchandise but doesn't want to open a store or sell it online (she's not an "online" person), nor does she want to be bothered with hanging out in a store and trying to sell it. It's worth it to her, and many in her situation, to pay to stock it on a shelf, and also pay someone else to take care of ringing up the purchase and dealing with customers.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2017, 07:48:22 AM by MClayton »

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #56 on: December 29, 2017, 07:47:57 AM »
I bet the shop you visited was a consignment shop. There are many in my area of Florida, and interestingly enough, they work in the same way the OP is describing. Many of them have shelf space for rent and also keep a percentage of the sale (although some may do one or the other, but not both). The ones I've visited tend to sell either art, vintage clothing, or antiques, and are typically located in the downtown, trendy (or historic) area of town. Once upon a time, years ago, I encouraged my mother to sell her Depression-era glass in one, but the store didn't have a blanket insurance policy on merchandise - individual sellers had to purchase their own insurance - so she decided not to do it.

It's not an unusual way for a specialty store to run in touristy parts of Florida, but as others have pointed out, probably doesn't work for books. Antiques and original art will earn the seller a lot more than a book will (and the sellers tend to be local), so it makes more sense to rent shelf space and take a percentage of the profit for items like that.
Yes, you have described it perfectly. The shop was in Kissimmee Old Town, which is very touristy. The Elvis Presley Museum disappeared by the following year as well (boo, hoo) :)


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Offline Bards and Sages (Julie)

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #57 on: December 29, 2017, 07:49:23 AM »
So where are we? Shelf space is sometimes rented, but not at $75 for three months in a little gift shop somewhere in Florida.

I did go over this in detail in a previous post. Which is the problem, because too often on the internet nobody reads the long posts and looks for one sentence answers. :'(

Consignment shops are a specific type of shop. They don't function like normal retail, which is the norm in the U.S.

Normal retail: Retailer buys product from manufacturer at wholesale price, sells product for whatever price they want.

Consignment: Manufacturer sends vendor product at no up front cost. Manufacturer sets price. Vendor sells product and takes a commission from each sale. Pays balance to manufacturer.

Consignment is actually the same thing as agency pricing for ebooks. We supply Amazon with ebooks at no cost. They sell them at the price we set, and pay us the difference after their commission. (sidebar: which is why until my dying breath I will contend that they do not pay us "royalties" because they are not the publisher, but that is another discussion)



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Offline MClayton

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #58 on: December 29, 2017, 07:52:34 AM »
Yes, you have described it perfectly. The shop was in Kissimmee Old Town, which is very touristy. The Elvis Presley Museum disappeared by the following year as well (boo, hoo) :)

Sadly, a lot of the stores I used to visit in downtown Sanford and downtown Deland have disappeared over the last few years. I think it's hard to keep something like that running. They're fun places to browse on a Saturday afternoon, but I (and I imagine many people) do more browsing than purchasing because while the items are interesting, they don't always fit well into a small home with two teen boys in it.

Offline TobiasRoote

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #59 on: December 29, 2017, 08:07:09 AM »
which is why until my dying breath I will contend that they do not pay us "royalties" because they are not the publisher.

Profit is usually a dirty word to artisans.


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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #60 on: December 29, 2017, 01:27:24 PM »
Thank you guys for the clarifications and the explanation of consignment shops. They sound like something I have seen once or twice with antique stores here, but they don't seem to last. We don't have anything like that besides those few, and the antique store ones weren't shelf space, but a patch of floor in a warehouse, and they required you to man the entire store a day a week as well as pay rent. I never considered them a good deal either.

Earlier posts had me envisioning supermarkets selling shelf space to brands, which would have me not trusting that supermarket to have the best products or the ones they would buy for themselves, but the ones who paid the best shelf hire.
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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #61 on: December 29, 2017, 01:32:52 PM »
For clarification, indie authors often are required to sell on consignment in book stores here, but they are never charged a fee for shelf space. Consignment rates vary hugely, so you must wear your big boy business boots when you go in to get the best deal. Of course, some of them then sell books while refusing to pay up. I lost thousands of dollars to one store alone which then shut down, so I no longer place books that way at all - I had ONE store out of about a dozen I supplied which was a reliable payer, so though that one store was wonderful, I have a bit of prejudice against consignment.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2017, 01:37:03 PM by M R Mortimer »
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Offline Elizabeth Barone

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #62 on: December 29, 2017, 06:29:56 PM »
This isn't the norm for consignment -- in my experience, anyway. The shops I've worked with or discussed consignment deals with didn't have additional shelf fees. The author was responsible for providing a number of copies, then received a percentage of each sale via a monthly check (or same-day, if the agreement was for a signing).

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Offline ThomasDiehl

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #63 on: December 30, 2017, 01:21:58 AM »
I just saw that after the three months, if the author doesn't renew, the books go to a discount shelf and get discounted by ten percent per week for the next four weeks, and then if the author opts not to pay shipping to have the books returned to them, they go to a freebie shelf.
Many people seem to take issue with this specifically. Let me tell you from experience, these terms are justified.
Earlier this year, I did an author promotion setting up a small library of local authors for one month. It went great but I still have books from the promo lying around because some of the authors never bothered to get their copies back. Some asked me to donate theirs to a regular library or a public bookshelf, a few never got back to me when I offered to bring them over (all authors were from town).
So, yeah, getting rid of unsold books is a real problem for physical stores and such.
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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #64 on: December 30, 2017, 01:24:48 AM »
Many people seem to take issue with this specifically. Let me tell you from experience, these terms are justified.
Earlier this year, I did an author promotion setting up a small library of local authors for one month. It went great but I still have books from the promo lying around because some of the authors never bothered to get their copies back. Some asked me to donate theirs to a regular library or a public bookshelf, a few never got back to me when I offered to bring them over (all authors were from town).
So, yeah, getting rid of unsold books is a real problem for physical stores and such.
I think the point isn't that the books will be reduced or given away if not sold, but that this is announced on a public website for everyone to see.

This being the case, why should I buy a book when if I wait three months I might get it for free?


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Offline Herefortheride

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #65 on: December 30, 2017, 01:53:29 AM »
Many people seem to take issue with this specifically. Let me tell you from experience, these terms are justified.
Earlier this year, I did an author promotion setting up a small library of local authors for one month. It went great but I still have books from the promo lying around because some of the authors never bothered to get their copies back. Some asked me to donate theirs to a regular library or a public bookshelf, a few never got back to me when I offered to bring them over (all authors were from town).
So, yeah, getting rid of unsold books is a real problem for physical stores and such.

I would argue that none of it is justified.
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Offline ThomasDiehl

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #66 on: December 31, 2017, 01:41:02 AM »
I think the point isn't that the books will be reduced or given away if not sold, but that this is announced on a public website for everyone to see.

This being the case, why should I buy a book when if I wait three months I might get it for free?
The alternative is to pulp them. I guess that's a question of personal preference imho.

But I do think this creates purchase pressure on the customers: You can buy now or risk somebody else getting it for free if you don't buy within a few weeks.
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Offline CynthiaClay

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #67 on: December 31, 2017, 09:20:43 AM »
[quote ]
I've never heard of shop assistants being paid solely on commission. They are always paid at least the normal minimum wage. If there is any commission on top of that, I believe it's the exception, not the rule. Stores like Nordstrom's do pay some commission, but I've never heard of it happening in book stores. Doesn't mean that it doesn't, but I don't think it's all that common.
[/quote]
It seems you are jumping to the erroneous conclusion that the sales person would only receive commission. Not true. It's a good base and the commission.

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Offline CynthiaClay

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #68 on: December 31, 2017, 06:45:33 PM »
I would think as an indie author the OP wouldnt be trying to make such a one sided deal. It seems 100% of all costs and risks are on the authors here and the business model has zero chance of being profitable for the author.
Im very sad to see this in our community.

My operating costs, before even one book or one piece of artwork is put into the shop, are roughly $6,000.00 a month. These are costs that must be paid even if not one book or artwork sells for the entire month. I would need 240 authors just to cover one month of costs.

If you do not think your book could sell fifteen copies in three months or five copies of three titles in three months, then you need not trouble yourself further. If your books fly from Amazon's Kindle Shop to readers' kindles by the tens, by the hundreds a day, then probably this would be a very good thing for you.

Before my local Borders went out of business, I asked how much it cost to have a single title displayed at the cash register. The manager told me $1,000.00. That was just for the placement. Borders would also receive money from the sale of each book.

All business is a risk. Already I have authors and small presses taking part. They understand there is some risk, but there is also opportunity. I am offering a business opportunity that will help promote art, theater, and literature in North Miami and its environs. The opportunity is to sell your books in a physical store and have your books introduced to readers who are apt to buy more of your books on-line. It is a business model already established on Florida's west coast to great success.

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #69 on: December 31, 2017, 07:24:11 PM »
That's some hefty costs. I'm guessing rent, which varies and in some locations is enormous, and then electricity is probably a sizable chunk as well, so I can see where that would come from, but what a leap of faith to jump in before the shelves were filled! That's a monster risk unless you have a small fortune behind you - it will likely take a long time to break even, when you consider you will have to pay yourself on top of that. I wouldn't have the stomach for it, so bravo.

If it is rented space, will they allow you to fit LED lighting? Commercial fluorescents are damnably expensive to run so changing over, while an initial outlay, can reduce your operating costs significantly depending on the premises. I replaced every light in my place with LED (11 rooms including hallways) and the savings on the first bill alone covered the outlay - given operating lives of twenty years, it makes a lot of sense.
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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #70 on: January 01, 2018, 09:16:32 AM »
Before my local Borders went out of business, I asked how much it cost to have a single title displayed at the cash register. The manager told me $1,000.00. That was just for the placement. Borders would also receive money from the sale of each book.

Placement at the cash register is a premium placement. I already explained this in an earlier post. The normal retail deal does not include a charge for shelf space. The charges only apply to premium shelf space. I explained this in detail up-thread. The fact that a mainstream bookstore chain charges $1000 for a premium placement AT THE REGISTER does not mean that all shelf space has a fee. It simply does not.

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #71 on: January 01, 2018, 09:20:24 AM »
Placement at the cash register is a premium placement. I already explained this in an earlier post. The normal retail deal does not include a charge for shelf space. The charges only apply to premium shelf space. I explained this in detail up-thread. The fact that a mainstream bookstore chain charges $1000 for a premium placement AT THE REGISTER does not mean that all shelf space has a fee. It simply does not.

Not only is it premium placement, but it's in a store that's specifically dedicated to selling books, which means people going through that register have a good chance of checking out yours, and since it's a Borders there's the implicit expectation that the store moves thousands of copies of different books a month. Can't say the same about a performing arts space.

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #72 on: January 01, 2018, 09:44:59 AM »
Placement at the cash register is a premium placement. I already explained this in an earlier post. The normal retail deal does not include a charge for shelf space. The charges only apply to premium shelf space. I explained this in detail up-thread. The fact that a mainstream bookstore chain charges $1000 for a premium placement AT THE REGISTER does not mean that all shelf space has a fee. It simply does not.

I'd let this one go.

It seems unanimous that writers think this is a terrible deal. I cringe at what we've been given as the "business model".

Moving on...
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Offline CynthiaClay

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #73 on: January 01, 2018, 06:28:23 PM »
That's some hefty costs. I'm guessing rent, which varies and in some locations is enormous, and then electricity is probably a sizable chunk as well, so I can see where that would come from, but what a leap of faith to jump in before the shelves were filled! That's a monster risk unless you have a small fortune behind you - it will likely take a long time to break even, when you consider you will have to pay yourself on top of that. I wouldn't have the stomach for it, so bravo.

If it is rented space, will they allow you to fit LED lighting? Commercial fluorescents are damnably expensive to run so changing over, while an initial outlay, can reduce your operating costs significantly depending on the premises. I replaced every light in my place with LED (11 rooms including hallways) and the savings on the first bill alone covered the outlay - given operating lives of twenty years, it makes a lot of sense.

Yes, we are changing all the lights to LED's.  And no, I'm not paying myself at all. With luck that will eventually happen. I do pay my sales woman.
Miami is a very expensive city. I have simply been trying to explain to the authors here on the Kboards why the charges I have set are as they are and to stop firmly any suggestion that I am try to screw over authors.

For those have mentioned Borders, when Borders existed, a non-paid-for-the-shelf book was set sideways on the shelf, sales people did not champion it, and it was only there for 2 weeks. Many midlist authors warned that if you did not sell well under such circumstances, publishers dropped you. Neither Barnes and Nobles nor Borders were exclusively books. They both had cafes. They both sold music. Barnes and Noble in my area dropped music for toys, so there are screaming children running around while you try to choose a book. People who go to plays also like to read and they don't run amuck screaming, so a boutique theater matches well with books. We often sell books at intermission and after a show.

Thank you for your goodwishes, and I thank very much Tizzy for her informed and rational comments.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2018, 06:49:50 PM by CynthiaClay »

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