Today I would like to talk about my recent experiences as an independent author who is solely responsible for marketing my own novels and short stories. As an indie author I have dealt with a number of small local bookstores and I have several tips and suggestions for other authors who want to see their books appear on the shelves of their local bookstores.
My first suggestions is PERSISTENCE.
Some time ago I was walking through my favorite part of old Louisville and came across a local bookstore. I entered the store to browse and noticed that in the far back corner there was a “Local Author’s” section. I decided to ask about offering my books on that shelf and the young man behind the counter was very polite and helpful. He provided me with both an email address and a phone # for the store manager and suggested I contact said manager. I thanked the young man and went about my day.
A few days later I emailed the manager. There was no reply. I waited a week later and emailed again. Still there was no reply. So I decided to place a phone call. time Still no reply. I decided to take a chance and make a second phone call. This time I got through to the manager.
I wish I could tell you that the conversation was a pleasant one. In this particular case it was not. But had I not been persistent this entire conversation would never have taken place.
The manager informed me in no uncertain terms that I had no idea what it took to stay in the bookstore business and preceded to lecture me about overhead, distributor costs etc. Needless to say my books will not be appearing in this particular bookstore anytime soon. I hope that my experience with this particular store manager was the exception for my fellow authors rather than the rule.
Which brings me to my next suggestion: STAY POSITIVE.
Even though I walked away from that conversation feeling a bit discouraged, I took several pieces of information away from that experience that will help me in the future. The first of which is that calling a potential business partner in the middle of a busy work day is probably not the best way to get my message across. The second is that not every bookstore or shelf is the appropriate place for my own work.
As always I welcome any comments, questions or suggestions you might have… and
thanks again for reading!