Mar 23, 2012

Symbiotic Nature of Indie Books

Updated December 31, 2013
After just a couple of months as an indie author, I groked an unspoken truth that any author needs to know who still wants to sell paperbacks (along with their e-books). Your best friend is the independent bookstore owner, and you may be that owner's edge against the big book chains. Eighteen months later I am even a bigger believer.

Canada's only large bookstore chain, Chapters-Indigo, does not carry books by indie writers in the chain. (Individual stores can arrange for consignment sales with an author.) Most indie bookstores I cold-called about stocking my two books have said yes. Several offered to host an event.

The relationship is symbiotic. The author gets a venue for book sales. The bookstore gets something the chains do not have: good books by new authors that people are curious about.

Since March of 2012, Mill Street Books in small town Almonte, Ontario (pop. 4200), has sold a combined total of 115 copies of my three books. It helped that I promoted the books and book launches locally, mostly through Facebook. But we both did well--that is symbiosis.

Caveat: You need professional quality books and an understanding of the bookstore industry. Be prepared to do much leg work visiting each store. Stay in your region where you are known. You won't get rich, but you'll get satisfaction.

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