If you’ve read the book, please consider leaving a review at one or both sites. It’d be great to get another wave of excitement going about this homegrown anthology. If you haven’t read it, now there are more purchasing options than before. Of course you can still buy it through Powell’s Books and the Espresso Book Machine network.
When I started Forest Avenue, I opted to use the Powell’s Espresso Book Machine as our printer and primary distributor in order to support the local literary economy. You can read more about my love of the Espresso network here. That’s still a major part of our philosophy. We love Powell’s and we especially love spending money there, since bookstores are small presses’ best allies in terms of reaching readers.We’ve printed all our advance reader copies of A Simplified Map of the Real World in small batches at Powell’s, and we plan to print many more books for local distribution when the book launches this September.
However, as a distribution method, the Espresso Book Machine network isn’t as well-known as the big online retailers, and potential readers can’t browse easily for new books. In order to find our books online through the network, readers need to know the exact title and author, key that information into the search engine, and then choose one of eight stores for purchasing. Then readers must go through that particular store’s particular purchasing setup.
I realized in order to have a chance in the marketplace, our fiction releases would need to be available through major retailers as well as through Ingram and Baker & Taylor, the two big book catalogs that libraries and bookstores use to order titles. There’s no way to get Espresso titles into those two catalogs at this point, so I went looking for a secondary printing and distribution solution and chose Lightning Source, a professional printer that many small presses use. In addition to the catalogs, Lightning Source pushes its books out to Amazon and Barnes & Noble for a small annual fee.
To prepare for September’s release, I went through the Lightning Source process with Brave on the Page, and I learned a lot. For one thing, Lightning Source’s online ordering system isn’t particularly compatible with Safari. As a result of a menu glitch, I accidentally ordered a hardcover version of Brave on the Page and then had to go backwards and try again for the paperback, with some much-needed help from my trusty account representative.
I’m excited about fitting this new piece into our distribution puzzle, because it means we’re growing. Our books will reach more readers, starting with Brave on the Page if we can get some more buzz going. And it means when our reviews of Stevan Allred’s collection start showing up in newspapers, magazines, and online, people will actually be able to find A Simplified Map of the Real World wherever they like to shop, whether it’s their local independent bookstore, a library with an Espresso Book Machine, or online at Amazon.