Amazon rain forest

If you want to impress an indie bookseller, don’t discuss your Amazon ranking: What I learned at SIBA

I’m spending the next few days at the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance trade show, at the request of my publisher, who wants to sell my book as badly as I do. This means I’m spending a lot of time with indie booksellers and I’m learning a lot about what it’s like to be an indie bookseller.

The struggle, as the kids say, is real. Here’s what I learned tonight on a trolley ride from Tybee Island back to my hotel in Savannah, all from indie booksellers:

Don’t tell an indie bookseller how great your book’s doing on Amazon. Think about it: this is like telling Steakhouse A how much you eat at Steakhouse B.

Don’t act as though they have to sell your book. They don’t. Even if you’re J.K. Rowling, no bookstore needs your book. Books are like trains: If you miss one, there’s another one coming in behind you.

Do patronize the store. Customers who are authors get priority over customers who aren’t.

If you do get an author event, don’t advertise it with a link to buy the book on Amazon. Or anywhere else other than the store. What good does it do the bookseller if 100 people show up to hear you read and they’ve all bought the book on Amazon? What, you think they appreciate you taking that extra wine off their hands?

I found the entire conversation enlightening; I never would have thought of some of these things, but it became clear quickly that they matter greatly to the indies. And, since they’ll be the ones selling my books, I’m happy to oblige. Also, as an author, I’m quite on the outside looking in on these booksellers who, even on the first night, are clearly a close-knit group strung across the south. They help each other, they rely on each other and they seem to genuinely care about everyone succeeding.

You don’t see that with Amazon. I’m fairly certain they don’t care about helping out Barnes & Noble.

Oh, also? I’m hoping Inkwood will agree to sell my book, but until then, you can buy it directly from the press. No Amazon required plus you get $5 off; click here and use code AU916 at checkout.

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I write. I take pictures. I love my dog. I love Florida. My 2016 book, 'Backroads of Paradise' did really well for the publisher and now I feel a ridiculous amount of pressure to finish the second book.

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