Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Tag Archives: Booksellers

#Writers Need All the Help They Can Get . . . And, so Do #Readers . . .


At different times and for different reasons, all writers need help—

Writers and Readers need help

Image Courtesy of Mikhail Lavrenov ~ http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/MikLav-51580

—with getting new ideas, with improving current ideas, with editing or revision, with the way to construct a book…

I’ve been extremely interested in a particular phenomenon that’s intended to help writers; however, it’s also intended to help “…readers, booksellers, publishers, editors, publicists, agents, and anyone who wants to participate in the literary conversation.”

It’s the Main Street Writers Movement {which will include this one at the top (and, others, I’m sure, in the future, since I tag my posts so they can be found in groups in the Top Tags widget, down a bit in the left side-bar…)}

In fact, the Founder of the Movement said this:

“The Main Street Writers Movement urges experienced writers to strengthen the national literary ecosystem through passionate engagement at the local level. Let’s honor and amplify our communities’ underrepresented voices. Let’s buy from local bookstores and small presses. Let’s leave our houses and dance in the streets to the sound of each other’s words.”

She also said:

“These are scary and uncertain times, but we must continue to use our voices and to listen to our neighbors’ words.”

And, concerning joining the Movement (for which there are No Fees…), which you can do Right Here, she said:

 [Becoming] “…an official member of the Main Street Writers Movement, [earns] you access to literary community building tools, industry insights, and connections with #mainstreetwriters who are creating new opportunities in their cities. We’ll send you a newsletter once a month with ways to get involved and ideas to make a difference.”

But, once again, even though it’s called a Writers Movement, it truly is also for “…readers, booksellers, publishers, editors, publicists, agents, and anyone who wants to participate in the literary conversation.”

O.K., so that, apart from my normal work as a writer and my duties as a member of Humanity, is one of my top “passions” now; yet, this help for writers thing was also a factor in my writing today’s post because of an article by Jane Friedman called, Author Marketing Collectives: An Increasingly Important Component of Book Promotion.

It makes mention of a group called Tall Poppies; and, my Best Friend (from Australia, where the phrase is used to indicate folks who could use a lecture on entitlement…) feels the group is doing themselves a disservice with that name; though, they are doing quite well, probably because folks in the U.S.A. haven’t run into that phrase…

Now, that was a tortured sentence :-)

So…

The idea behind the group—

I’ll quote from the article:

“…our goals are different from a publisher’s goals. Of course, we would like to sell books but our primary objective is to give our readers access and personal interactions with authors. To that end, a Tall Poppy Author is invested in relationships and not only the kind of relationships where money changes hands. We want our stories to resonate and getting to know our readers help us do that. If a publisher has like-minded, committed, generous authors who enjoy social media it’s possible they could mimic what we do.”

Not sure about you, but this sounds to me like a group of authors who, all by themselves are doing something extremely similar to what Main Street Writers Movement is working to implement.

The only difference I detect is that Tall Poppies is a two-way street between a group of writers and their readers; while Main Street Writers Movement is a multi-dimensional set of paths between:

“Writers, readers, booksellers, publishers, editors, publicists, agents, and anyone who wants to participate in the literary conversation.”

I’ve contacted my local library here in Akron, Ohio and a large writer’s group in Cleveland, Ohio and will soon start calling local bookstores, et al.

 Thing is, the library and the writer’s group liked the idea of Main Street Writers Movement but couldn’t see what they could do with it…

I certainly won’t push them and I did recommend they read my posts about it; but, bottom line, I feel they were being insular—wanting to stay on their island, not even attempt to launch boats to make friends with other islands—remain isolated from “…anyone who wants to participate in the literary conversation.”afraid of “diluting their efforts”…

Yet, it’s my firm belief that More can be done with More people from More diverse pools of learning and desire…

Sure, it can demand better planning, smoother logistics, more time, and a firmer commitment to the “larger community”…

But, in a world tearing itself apart into a multitude of sects and causes and parties and nations and walled-off clubs, why not make more room for the transcendent call of the Oneness of Humanity?

Actually, since the mid-1800s and more strongly since the early 1920s,  humanity has been learning to Unify…

There are more groups now, working toward unification, then at any time in the history of humanity—it’s an evolutionary phenomenon…

So… before I spin off into a cloud of aspiration, I ask you to consider (even if it isn’t through association with Tall Poppies or Main Street Writers Movement) hooking up with other folks, merging some of the goals of your group with other groups to strengthen both, volunteering with one of the many organizations working for Human Unity…

O.K., I’m signing off  ’cause I’ve arrived smack in the middle of that cloud of aspiration :-)

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Things Self-Published Authors Are Not Supposed to Be Able to Do…


I did a post four years ago about self-published authors getting their books into libraries… 

And, a month after that post I published one about self-published authors getting their books into bookstores

Today, we’ll re-visit that last concept.

There’s an article in The Independent (out of the state of Utah in the USA) called Eight Things Booksellers would like Self-published Authors to Know.

It’s written by Niki Hawkes, a bookseller for 11 years who now offers Speculative Fiction book reviews and writing advice.

I’ll give you her eight topics and my immediate thoughts, leaving it to you to go read what an actual bookseller says :-)

Making sure your title is available for bookstores to order is an important first step

My current publishing set-up would have me ordering books for the bookstore (getting them an initial discount).

Make sure your title is returnable, specifically for national bookstore chains

The books would be returned to me; but, I could certainly find new homes for them

Bookstores typically don’t have a budget to promote your signing event

I probably wouldn’t have a signing event unless the store was very local.

Take an active role in your signing event

If I had one, I’d be all over it

Your self-published book is probably not going to be competitively priced

This one’s interesting because of what a commenter said—“I’ve had no trouble pricing my paperbacks within the range mentioned.”

Booksellers don’t want to be hassled about your book

Wouldn’t think of doing something like that

Content quality matters

Uuuh… Naturally.

You are not entitled to an audience

I wasn’t raised in the age of entitlement

I’ll close with something Niki said that should spur any self-published author looking to get their books into bookstores off on a research spree:

“To be successful in pitching their books to booksellers, self-published authors should have a sense of the resources available to booksellers, what is appealing to them, and how to approach them.”

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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
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All About Bookstores . . .


Since I write my blog to help folks explore Reading, Writing, and Publishing; and, since Amazon has been getting way too much press lately, I decided I should write about bookstores :-) 

Bookstores

Image Courtesy of Brendan Gogarty ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/brendan76

I also wanted to use a Web app I’ve been exploring—Buzzsumo.

Here’s one user’s description of this app:

“Identify the links that are most shared on social networks, as well as influencers for specific topics. .. really easy to use.”

So, I put in “bookstores” and added the filter for the past 6 months.

Buzzsumo shows how many times each article has been shared on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.

I’ll only give the total shares across all those platforms.

And, I’ll have a question for you at the end…

Here are the 10 most-shared Web articles about bookstores in the last 6 months (with the total number of shares):

1. 17 Bookstores That Will Literally Change Your Life — 241,249

2. World’s coolest bookstores — 84,501

3. The French Do Buy Books. Real Books. — 26,682

4. Literary City, Bookstore Desert — Surging Rents Force Booksellers From Manhattan — 20,386

5. Why Indie Bookstores Are on the Rise Again — 17,873

6. One NYC Indie Bookstore Survives By Being Small And Specialized 15,572

7. Bookstores of New York — 10,806

8. 9 Awe-Inspiring Bookstores Around the World — 9,382

9. 14 New York City Bookstores You Should Visit Before You Die — 8,979

10. The 14 Absolute Best U.S. Kids’ Bookstores (As Chosen By Teachers) — 7,738

So, my question for you is:

Why do you think these particular articles had the most social network shares in the last six months?
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