Status: Drafting the fourth book in the PERILOUS series!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Support your local Indie!

I'm on a campaign to get people to buy from their local independent bookstore.

I'll be honest, before I was offered a contract by an independent publishing company, I didn't realize that independents ("indies") operated alone. I guess I kind of assumed that all book stores had the same connections, got the same catalogs, received the same deals. Not only is that not true, but many big bookstores (Barnes & Noble) don't even buy books from independent publishing companies. OUCH.

As I began to prepare my marketing campaign, I came across a blog that said something like, "If you want your indie to buy your book and have a book signing for you, start showing your support for them. Buy books there. Frequent it. Get to know them." That makes sense. Indies are owned by individuals. The owner often mans the register.

Here's something from www.indiebound.org, an indie website:

Why shop Indie?

When you shop at an independently owned business, your entire community benefits:

The Economy
  • Spend $100 at a local and $68 of that stays in your community. Spend the same $100 at a national chain, and your community only sees $43.
  • Local businesses create higher-paying jobs for our neighbors.
  • More of your taxes are reinvested in your community--where they belong.
The Environment
  • Buying local means less packaging, less transportation, and a smaller carbon footprint.
  • Shopping in a local business district means less infrastructure, less maintenance, and more money to beautify your community.
The Community
  • Local retailers are your friends and neighbors—support them and they’ll support you.
  • Local businesses donate to charities at more than twice the rate of national chains.
  • More independents means more choice, more diversity, and a truly unique community.

I, for one, do not want to see the demise of the printed book. Or the demise of bookstores. Many love the Kindle; I'm not converted yet. Many love amazon.com; I also use it if I can't find what I want locally. But many of use feel the woes of businesses closing. What are we doing to stop it?

I suggest you go out and find your local indie. Chat with the owner, thank them for their business. Then buy a few books! Indies have their own bestseller list, and it's not the same as the New York Times bestseller list. Better yet, join an indie community! I found the coolest website (many of you may know it): www.indiebound.org. You can find all the indies around you and create a profile and get to know people. I just joined yesterday and am looking for FRIENDS! So if you're already on there or joining, let me know!

For you authors out there, this means one big thing: NETWORKING. Networking with people who actually go out of their way to support writers.

Have fun! If you get a chance, tell me what treasures you find!

Sequel Stats:
today's goal: 29,710
actual: 30,072 (+2,362)
tomorrow's goal: 32,072


M. Gray said...

Okay, I'm going to risk sounding like a huge idiot. But... here I go anyway. :)

We have two independent bookstores that come up in my city. One is for used books. The other is in Old Town, a place for history and antiquing.

My book is for a younger audience and is--hopefully--pretty edgy. I don't think the more mature crowd would really enjoy it so I'm wondering whether the Old Town bookstore might not be interested in me and my book.

SO, here's my question. Are all independent bookstores like this? Quaint, I love them, but not necessarily geared for the YA audience? Let me have it, those who know, because I'm really here to learn. Thanks, Tamara for informing me! This is stuff I really need to know!

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Hey Mary!

Yes, many indies are also specialty shops. For example, in my town, we have four indies: one's for parenting books, one's for used books, one's an LDS bookstore, and one's just an indie. (I'll be gearing my book towards two of those.)Unfortunately, indies are a dying breed. closing frequently.

You might find some other indies within a 2-3 hour drive. For book signings and what not, that's probably not too far. Maybe further, depending on you.

T. Anne said...

I don't see the demise of the printed book either, and I love my Kindle lol! I do try my hardest to support my indies. I love the connection you can feel there as opposed to the large chains where the only connection (other than the smell of books) is the smell of coffee competing for your senses.

David J. West said...

Hey Tamara

I recently went back to my hometown in Montana and told the local indie bookstore that my book was coming soon. They didn't remember my name but they did remember me as the "Conan guy" and were more than happy to order my book and schedule a signing. They are going to be taking the same exchange rate as Amazon 40%-ouch but as far as I am concerned I still want to do it because having my book physically sitting on their store shelves is better than people not knowing I exist on Amazon. As Kristine said Amazon is for people who don't feel like going to the bookstore but want the book and thats only gonna be when they have already heard about you-word of mouth anyway.
I also stopped by a big independant bookstore in Idaho Falls and have scheduled to do a signing there upon release too. And I sure hope WiDo themselves contacts the stores near you for all our sakes.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

What a fantastic plan, David. I'll be contacting all the indies within a six hour radius of me, maybe more if I'm feeling really adventurous. Maybe if we give WiDo the names of the ones we want them to contact, they'll do it?

Ralene said...

Ah...marketing. You gotta love it. :) Good luck in your adventures, Tamara. I vote you come out here and do a book signing in KC. teehee!

Karen Gowen said...

Putting in my 2 cents. Yes, if you have a store name and contact, let WiDo know. Email it to Kristine or Liesel. Because even if they have the store number, if the author has already made a contact, and if the store owner/manager sees the author also as a customer, they go out of their way to order the book and here's the biggie...to handsell it. That means recommending it to customers, and that can mean all the difference. You don't get that kind of attention at Amazon or B&N. Therefore, when WiDo calls a store, they can say, "Tamara Hart Heiner spoke to you about her book,.." Instant sale, usually twice as many as they would have ordered without the personal contact.

My husband went to The Book Table in Logan to check on their placement of Uncut Diamonds and Farm Girl. He didn't tell the sales girl who he was, but asked for UCD, since he didn't see it at first. She went to the display, picked up the book, and HANDED it to him, so it was actually in his hands.
He was so impressed with her sales savvy, with that extra attention she gave in trying to make a sale. Again, you don't get that at the big chains.

Karen Gowen said...

I tried posting from my vox url and it wouldn't approve me :( I said some really good stuff too!

Anyway, more on the subject: A simple visit to your bookstore will open the door wider when WiDo calls. Stop in, say hi, meet the manager or book buyer, then make sure WiDo has the contact info. Email it to Liesel.

Also, some places that sell books aren't listed on the ABA that WiDo uses. Gramma's Pantry in Aitken MN has sold hundreds of copies of Farm Girl, and had a signing, but they aren't even a book store! However, they were interested since the subject of the book (my mom) is a local resident.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

KC? Is that Kansas (I always thought it was KS!)? It's not too far! I'm sure I can make it out there!

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Way awesome advice, Karen! Definitely makes me want to get out there and do some shopping at my indie!

(And in that line, Mary, check your local coffee shops. Even grocery stores. They might be able to hook you up.)

Karen Gowen said...

From a midwesterner, KC is Kansas City

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

oh! I had no idea!

Solvang Sherrie said...

I love my indie. They know me and my kids because we're in there all the time. The owner gives me ARCs and they also give locals a $10 coupon for every $100 they spend. I don't know if all indies are like this, but ours is AWESOME!

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

wow! where's your indie??? I need to start shopping there!

Kathryn Magendie said...

I love indie booksellers and support them! and libraries - and indie publishers - I went with an indie publisher for my book!

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

yay, Kathryn!!! me too!

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