Website Helps Self-Published Authors Sell Books
Before John Grisham became a famous novelist whose works have been read by millions, he struggled to get publishers interested in a book called “A Time to Kill,” which he initially self-published. Reece Sherman of Birmingham says several best-sellers have started out on the self-publishing route, including “The Shack,” “What Color is Your Parachute?” and the initial "Chicken Soup for the Soul.”
But for every successful best-seller picked up by major publishers, there are thousands of self-published books struggling to find an audience. That’s where Sherman, author of several self-published books of his own, steps in.
In mid-March, Sherman founded Selfpublishedbookstore.com, a website that helps self-published authors market and sell their books. “I know of many self-published authors who are frustrated that they cannot sell their books,” Sherman said. "My site gives them a voice and an opportunity.”
Sherman has a bachelor’s degree in religion from Stetson University, a master of divinity from Southeastern Theological Seminary (Wake Forest, N.C.), and a doctorate of ministry from Southern Baptist Seminary (Louisville). He will complete his law degree next year from Birmingham School of Law.
He is the self-published author of several books, including a series called “VerseryRhymes” that translates the New Testament into rhyme.
From personal experience, Sherman said he saw a need for a site to help self-published authors find a market for their books. He said many self-publishing book companies will teach you the nuts and bolts of self-publishing, and print and sell your books through their website for a hefty percentage. “What they won’t do is market your books or feature your books unless you pay a high fee,” Sherman said. "This site is a placed to bring all self-published authors together to sell their books. I will feature each book at various times throughout the year. I will also market the books.”
Sherman said Selfpublishedbookstore aims to be “a community where author and customer can meet.” Authors can list up to 10 different books for $15 and pay Selfpublishedbookstore.com 10 percent of sales.
Sherman financed the company on his own with a couple hundred bucks in savings. He said selfpublishedbookstore.com is not a publishing company, but sells and markets such books for other authors.
Authors buy books from their self-publishing company and can sell them on his site for whatever amount they choose. While some self-published authors are discovered by large publishing companies, Sherman said many of them are proud to be on their own and want to remain that way.
“They write good books that they believe in,” he said. "They just need an avenue to get them to customers. That is where we come in.”
The biggest challenge is marketing books for authors and overcoming the stereotype some have about self-published books. “We will meet this challenge through hard work,” Sherman said. "Being a self-published author, I know the joy that comes from writing something that others will enjoy.”
Capital is not abundant. He doesn’t have investors and started the venture with just a few hundred dollars. “But I believe I have a good product and I look forward to its future,” he said.
Sherman has been reaching out to self-published authors encouraging them to consider selling their books on his site. He has been promoting selfpublishedbookstore.com on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, social networking sites he says will be used to market books for clients.
Since he started the site in mid-March, it has had over, 6,452 visits and 84,000 hits from computer users in 25 countries.
“Our site is also on more than 100 search engines,” Sherman said. "I will go to book fairs to promote books. I will do canvassing and print advertising.”
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