Indie Bookstores: How Authors Can Approach them.

Give Thanks for Independent Bookstores and give them your Support: —————————————————————————- ————————– Have you called on the ones near you for signings or to carry your book? Here is a lookup link for US stores. The recent combination of the Thanksgiving holiday, Small Business Appreciation Week, and seeing President Obama go to a bookstore got me thinking about independent bookstores and how their world has changed. This morning I spent a bit of time on the site which is the association/voice of independent bookstores in the US. (I will assume that there is something similar in other countries and if you know of a link like that, please send it to me). On their site they have a very nice lookup so that you can find independent bookstores near your location. . As an author, you should know these stores and I have found it is pretty easy to tell which ones will be surviving and prospering into the future. Let me suggest that you make it a goal in 2014 to visit each of the stores in your area and let them know that you are a local author, and that you support Indie Bookstores. Tell them that you found them on IndieBound. Their lives are tough! With Amazon, and ebooks believe me, they are having to adapt to survive, so if you visit, please be respectful of what they are going through. You will find that they either are very supportive of local authors, or they won’t give you the time of day. It will be hit or miss. but as we say, “it just takes one”. What I have learned from visiting bookstores around the world, is that some of the stores have created a new, magical feel, and they will survive. I see about 1 in 5 surviving and I expect about 1 in 5 to be supportive of working with you in some way. Here are a few ideas for you to try out when you visit: – First read their website. That will tell you many things. o Do they support author visits? o Do they have catalog and mail order? o What is their focus? o Here are two examples. 1. Sample Indie Bookstore Website: Notice that this store is very specific about African-American and metaphysics. 2. This bookstore in Miami has a tremendous number of author signings and visits. Notice the “story time”: Suggestions: —————————— If the bookstore matches what you have written you might try “giving” them a few books to sell. We consider them as seeds and giving them 3-5 books to prove that your books will sell is a strategy that works. This creates what the Chinese call “guanxie” which means, “they owe you one”. You might talk to them about selling on consignment. (Remember, cash is always troublesome for indie stores). But just as big as cash is bookkeeping and accounting. Keep in mind that you do not want to create an accounting nightmare for them. Luckily if they are “pro-local-author” they will know how to handle you. If they are NOT pro-author (see below) then you will find that out right away. And of course, you will want to ask them to carry your book and/or let you do a reading or author signing. Take some pictures or postcards. everyone wants more “stuff” if they will be working with you. (If you don’t have any, please email us). Handling Objections and Negativity: —————————————————– Without a doubt, if you visit five stores you will have one positive store, three neutral stores, and one negative store. The negative store personnel will respond with things like, “we don’t carry self-published books”, or “we can’t even order your book”. These are all just smokescreens and indicative of a store that has no money and will be out of business soon enough. So, we suggest that you pretty much ignore any bad vibe stores and people. Don’t try to convince anyone of anything. Spend your time with the one winner store, and converting one of the three neutral stores! We are happy to get in touch with the store owner and explain how they can order your books though, so don’t hesitate to get us in touch with the owner or bookkeeper. We know how to handle their objections and questions. We stand ready to help you: ——————————————- Our book order team has about 100 indie bookstores that we work with on a regular basis. We know their processes and questions and concerns and we can handle them. If you have a positive to neutral response, we can help you close the deal. There is one caveat though, we will NOT accept long payment terms, the maximum we will accept is 90 days. That protects each of us. If you wish to ok a longer payment term we can discuss that with you. If you have any questions please respond by email and my administrative assistant will route your email to the proper person which will probably be Suzanne in the Book Order Department. If you have worked with her, you know what a professional she is! Best! Robert Fletcher – CEO Administrative Assistant Meena C. – ( Linked In: Twitter: @Robert_CEO, CEO Blog:

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