I like bookstores. Much as I read e-books, I still like to wander through the stacks at bookstores. I still have a lot of print books in my collection.
But, I rarely see an author in a bookstore promoting his or her work, or sitting as a table signing copies. Some local independent stores go out of their way to promote authors, but that usually involves top tier authors with agents and/or one of the top five publishers.
Independent authors are a gamble and, honestly, most bookstores don’t play that.
I had some success with a local independent bookstore, and some Barnes & Noble stores who have aggressive managers. But, that isn’t the norm. Sometime in late 2016 a bookstore somewhere bought eleven copies each of Sudden Mission and Nasty Leftovers. I had no idea what store bought those. IngramSpark (the company that does the print-on-demand paperback editions of my books) cannot/will not divulge that information and the bookstore didn’t make any contact with me about it. This web site URL (universal resource locator) is on the back cover and I’m not hard to find on the Internet.
As it worked out, I ended up buying back all those books. As an independent author, I have to guarantee buy back of books for bookstores to have access to my books. This could be a short route to bankruptcy if a lot of stores bought a lot of books and didn’t sell them.
It’s worth the risk, though.
I don’t know how else to reach bookstores across the country. I can only plead with fans, readers, and other authors. Here’s the deal:
If a bookstore buys some of my books (or any other independent author’s books) let me or that author know via email, website, Twitter, whatever.
I, for one, will guarantee that I will put forth my best effort to let everyone know that you have my books in stock at your location(s). I will use my social media, newsletter, and street team to get the word out. If you have media in your area and want to arrange an interview, I’d be happy to participate. If at all possible and practical, I will make every effort to arrange a visit to your store for a reading, signing, or other event. No additional cost to you, the bookstore.
I can’t speak for the other independent authors, but I bet if you (the bookstores) contacted indy authors when you make an order of their books to let them know, they may make a similar effort.
So, I’m asking all of you to pass on this information.
For Spirit Missions, an independent Christian bookstore might find this approach appealing (I already know that LifeWay bookstores aren’t interested in my books). But, some Barnes & Nobles may be interested. They like teen books and many don’t have a problem with Christian-themed material.
Sometimes a local connection, like where I lived in the past, can help. Like Twin Falls or Boise, ID; Great Falls, MT; Moses Lake, Spokane, Bellingham, or Bothell, WA; Bend or Madras, OR.
If you are a bookstore that stumbled across this page, contact me here.