How can authors help independent bookstores?

Host:  Anne Dimock

Participants: Anne, Meredith, Easty, and one other

Notes

Our conversation lasted about ½ hour, then we adjourned and went to other breakout rooms. Three of us are authors; two of us are booksellers – one of whom started her bookstore to accommodate local authors who were not represented in the local B&N.

  1. Authors need to do more to promote themselves and their book. Discussion: Authors may be competent, clueless or hesitant about this; runs the gamut. Recommend book publicists to them. Tell them to have their press kit and tip sheet at the ready. Many authors still do not understand how much more work they could do to help themselves and those who will sell their books. Educate them.
  1. Authors should post links to independent bookstores on their author websites; don’t link only to Amazon and B&N – they are competitors. Make it easy for your audience to support a local bookstore. It’s infuriating to booksellers to see authors linking only to Amazon.
  1. Help authors feel more competent in self-promotion. Discussion: Bookstores could have a link on their websites for authors on the best ways to interact with them – who to contact at their store; how to have an event there; how to link to their purchase page.
  1. Make author book events more interactive – think about having a salon, not a reading. Readings are 2 dimensional; a conversation does more. Have topics, questions that begin a conversation.
  1. Authors need to bring their audience with them to events at the stores. Be relentless about marketing your appearances and call in every friend and family member to attend your events.

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