About a month ago we talked at the #bookmarket twitter chat about how to connect with bookstores in order to get books out there. It was a fantastic and informative chat where two bookstore owners shared some great tips of what to do and what not to do when contacting this important figure of the publishing market. However, the topic was so interesting that I felt I needed a complement, so I invited Claudia Hall Christian, the mind behind that great chat, to write a post about bookstores and writers. Enjoy her wisdom, she has plenty of it!
*Claudia Hall Christian is the author of the sweet and crunchy serial fiction, Denver Cereal and the heartfelt thrill ride, the Alex the Fey thriller series. She is a co-owner of Cook Street Publishing and the leader of #bookmarket, Twitter’s only chat on Book Marketing, on Thursdays . She can be reached at her personal blog – On A Limb, Twitter at @ClaudiaC or on Facebook at facebook.com/claudia.h.christian.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say that bookstores are dead. Conventional wisdom for a new author says you should not waste your time with bookstores. After all, the US Census Bureau estimates bookstores sell 16.6 billion dollars in retail book sales and non-book sales while Amazon.com and BN.com sell over 10 billion dollars in books alone. Amazon and Barnes and Noble capture almost half of the book sales in the
. It’s easy to see why you’re encouraged you to focus on selling books online. US
Conventional wisdom is wrong.
Authors need bookstores. Here are a few reasons why:
1. Bookstore employees put books into people’s hands: Literally, bookstore employees walk people to bookshelves and put a book into someone’s hand. When a book is put in a person’s hand, they almost always buy it. Who wouldn’t love having their books set into a customer’s hand for the customer to trot on up to the cash register with it?
2. Bookstores are gathering places: A bookstore is a wonderful place to talk about your book. Once the book is written, edited, bound and printed, you will need places to talk about your book. Your local bookseller will love to have you come to talk about your book.
3. Bookstores sell books: It sounds simple. But selling books is the entire reason bookstore employees show up for work. Even if the floor cleaner works on the floors to create a comfortable environment for the sale of books. You want to be a part of that stream.
4. People who shop bookstores read: Everyone shops at Amazon.com and BN.com. People who read books, join book clubs, and talk about books shop at bookstores. Your market is walking the aisles of your independent bookstore right now. Your book should be there for them to read!
5. An infectious environment. As an author, once the book is completed, your job is to develop your audience. Bookstores are your first audience. Give copies of your book to your local independent bookstore. Let them read what you have to say. If they like your work, you’ve got your first customer. Like a virus, they will pass your book on to the book readers in your community. The book readers will pass the book along to their friends who read books and your audience will catch your reading bug.
So drop by your local bookstore today. Drop off a book for them to review. Ask them how you can become apart of their collection.
Get going! Your audience is waiting!