How Will Hamilton-Davies Introduced his Self-Published Book into Almost Every Bookshop in Bristol

5 easy steps outlining how to introduce a self-published book to bookshops.Just one month after releasing his debut children’s book, The Shrew with the Flu, Will Hamilton-Davies has seen his picture book featured on shelves across almost all of Bristol’s top independent bookshops. The SilverWood team secured time to talk with Will about his successes, and how he surmounted the hurdles created by everything going on in the world right now.

"To look back on my last few months - crowdfunding The Shrew with the Flu, printing, publishing and promoting it - it’s easy to forget the amount of work I put into making this project succeed. I often tell people that there are two ingredients that make for a successful project: how much you care, and how much you try. I fully believe that all retailers have energy reserved for local creators that are passionate, driven and overwhelmingly sympathetic to their challenges."

Will divulged a few key areas in which similarly ambitious authors might find success:

  1. Talk to people face-to-face.
  2. "There’s a lot of advice that discourages face-to-face pitches. I don’t doubt that there is a time and a place for an email, but passion is best communicated in person. Perhaps being young, a little ignorant and naïve gives me an advantage for these conversations, but face-to-face conversations are personable in a way that keeps decision-makers invested in you, just as much as your story."

  3. Compromise
  4. "There are very few bookshops that are booming in the current climate - dare I mention A****n. As a result, compromises are essential to getting your foot in the door. Don’t underestimate the power of having a shop stock your book. Whether it’s stocked under the condition of Sale or Return, or you feel less excited because they only want to stock one book rather than three, if your story is good enough, said stock will sell, and you will have plenty more opportunities to agree something more favourable."

  5. Know your worth.
  6. "As important as it is to compromise, it’s also important to remember that retail outlets are your partners. I had brilliant independent shops offer to stock Shrew’s story, some of whom demanded painfully tight margins, while pledging to order one or two copies at a time. A friend said to me, "Look, you have a brilliant product. You shouldn’t compromise unless you have a reason to. Don’t say yes just because it’s an opportunity; not every opportunity is the right one." They were right. As much as I wanted to see The Shrew with the Flu stocked in every shop in the world, it was important to me that I felt excited about working with retailers, and if their offers didn’t align with the value they were adding, it wasn’t always going to work for me."

  7. Know your book.
  8. "Bookshops told me time and time again that they were impressed that I actually knew my prices, what the book was about, the age group it was intended for, the way it was distributed, and its key selling points. I think because The Shrew with the Flu is a sustainably printed book about self-awareness, moderation and caring for the environment - as well as a book that uncannily references 'the flu’ - it felt extra important that I spoke about those elements. That said, if you aren’t certain about what your book is, why someone should stock it and where they can order it, you need to plan more carefully before visiting another shop."

  9. Add value where others cannot.
  10. "There were so many things I did, and will continue to do for bookshops, because it makes their experience working with me better. I sign and send books personally; I offer readings; I promote retailers on my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter."

We asked Will if he had any final words for readers...

"There is no set route for an author. I wish everyone reading this the best of luck with their journey as a writer. It won’t always be easy, but if it’s something you love, it’ll be worth it!"

Will’s book is now stocked in shops such as Better Food, the Arnolfini Gallery Bookshop, Storysmith, Noah's Ark Zoo Farm, and more.

You can purchase The Shrew with the Flu on AmazonKabloom or via the SilverWood online bookshop by clicking on the product below.
3d cover image for the shrew with the flu by will Hamilton davies

The Shrew with the Flu

Will Hamilton-Davies



“If you’re thinking of self-publishing, I hope you don't go at it alone. With a team like SilverWood behind you, you have the support you need to publish the best work you believe in.”

J A Higgins