We’re all familiar with that “online bookseller who shall be nameless,” who’s been huffing and puffing and trying to gobble up the independent-bookstore market. Well, let me tell you a little secret. It’s not working. Indie bookstores are here to stay. And best of all, they are thriving!
Lesley Stahl and Ann Patchett
I had the privilege of attending my second American Booksellers Association’s Winter Institute. In a nutshell, it was AWESOME!
I attended some terrific sessions about:
- Starting a children’s book festival (I have this fantasy that the North Fork of Long Island will some day have a children’s book festival of its own); and
- Working with small and university presses.
Left to right: Wendy Morton Hudson, Nantucket Book Partners (Nantucket, MA); Cathy Berner, Blue Willow Bookshop (Houston, TX); Todd Dickinson, Aaron’s Books (Lititz, PA); Tom Roberts, Ye Olde Warwick Book Shoppe (Warwick, NY).
I also sat in on two wonderful lunches. The first was an education lunch for authors conducting events at independent bookstores. Some takeaways from the lunch were:
- It’s never too early to contact a bookstore. Contact the store 5-6 months before a book releases.
- Be sure to be honest with the bookstore regarding the number of people you believe will be in attendance.
- People expect to be entertained at a bookstore event.
- Do not read the entire book at an event (unless it’s a picture book). If you read the entire book, there’s no incentive to purchase the book.
- Some bookstores like PowerPoint presentations. Others, not so much.
- Presentations for kids generally follow this formula: 15 minutes to read a story; 15 minutes of Q & A; and 20 minutes to sign.
- Be sure to engage kids and their parents during a presentation.
- Multiple author events need cohesion. E.g., An evening of alligator stories, etc.
- And always be sure to work social media. Make sure you put links to the bookstore on your website.
The second was the small and university presses lunch. The highlight for me was listening to Marissa Moss, publisher and editor extraordinaire of Creston Books, present the spring titles.
Below are a few photographic highlights:
Marissa Moss, Editor and Publisher of Creston Books, discussing the spring releases.
Kate Warne, Pinkerton Detective by Marissa Moss and illustrated by April Chu (Creston Books 2017).
Rumors by Denys Cazet (Creston Books 2017).
The Case of the Poached Egg, A Wilcox & Griswold Mystery by Robin Newman and illustrated by Deborah Zemke (Creston Books 2017).
Marissa Moss with her first adult novel, Last Things: A Graphic Memoir of Loss and Love (Conari Press 2017).
The Galley Room
Emma Donoghue signing, The Lotterys Plus One (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic 2017).
William Joyce signing, Ollie’s Odyssey (Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books 2017).
Josh Funk with his latest book, The Case of the Stinky Stench (Sterling 2017), and me (naturally holding a carton of eggs to celebrate the upcoming release of The Case of the Poached Egg).
Ann Patchett signing, Commonwealth (Harper 2016).
Detectives Wilcox and Griswold are in the house!
Thrilled to be signing the latest Wilcox & Griswold Mystery, The Case of the Poached Egg (Creston Books 2017).
Please support your local independent bookstores. Not to preach (because I would never, ever do that) BUT . . . independent bookstores are anchors in our communities. They bring us together. They keep our kids off electronic devices and get them excited about the written word. Independent bookstores give us opportunities to know and understand worlds beyond our own. They support us in so many ways. Please be sure to support them.
For comprehensive coverage of #WI12, be sure to check out these wonderful articles from Publishers Weekly.
- Roxane Gay: Diversity is a “Problem Seemingly Without Solution” by Judith Rosen
- A Call for Diversity Among Children’s Booksellers at Winter Institute 12 by Ed Nawotka and Claire Kirch (There’s a picture of moi with a super-adorable little girl in this article. Thanks, PW!)
- WI12: Current Events Dominate Final Day of Winter Institute by Claire Kirch