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New Writing Project Celebrates Bookshops – Call For Entries

New Writing Project Celebrates Bookshops – Call for Entries

Photo of Debbie and Piers on stage

Debbie Young and Piers Bearne launching #Authors4Bookstores in Foyles, London, at IndieReCon (photo by Dan Holloway)

What writer doesn’t love bookshops, or hasn’t been influenced or inspired by visiting bricks-and-mortar bookstores from an early age? Independent Booksellers’ Week in the UK seems a good time to announce that as part of ALLi’s #Authors4Bookstores campaign, we’re planning two new writing projects that will celebrate bricks-and-mortar booksellers, and we’re inviting ALLi members to take part.

New ALLi Handbook for Authors

First, a new practical handbook: How to Sell Your Books Through Bookstores. This will very much expand on Chapter 4 in Opening Up to Indie Authors, which gave a quick summary of how to build a better relationship with local booksellers. It will include practical tools to help you do that. such as templates for book information sheets, feedback from a wide range of bookshops, and shared experiences of ALLi author members. It will also include some inspiring anecdotes from leading indie authors around the world, including Piers Alexander, who at the launch of #Authors4Bookstores spoke so evocatively of his own childhood enjoyment of bookshops.

Here’s how you can be involved:

  • If you have already have a good relationship with one or more bookstores and would like to give them a shout-out in the book, please email me a brief description of how supportive they have been to you, or leave a comment with details at the end of this post.
  • If you have a particular favourite tactic that works for you in placing your books in bricks-and-mortar stores, I’d love to share it in the book – again, please email me or leave a comment.
  • If you have a treasured memory or an interesting anecdote about how bookshops have inspired you in any way, please email me up to 500 words describing your experience – we’ll be including a selection of these in the book.

We’re planning to launch this book in the autumn, so the deadline for submissions is 31st July 2015.

New Fiction Anthology about Bookshops

Interior of Foyles

Gotta love bookshops – inside the new Foyles London flagship bookstore

Secondly, more for fun than practicality, I’ll be compiling an anthology of short stories inspired by bookshops and booksellers. To allow as many as practical to be included, I’m asking for a maximum of 2,000 words per story. All submissions must of course be original and your own work, and only ALLi members are eligible to contribute to the book. (Now there’s a good reason to join ALLi, if you’re not already a member!) If your story has already been published elsewhere, that’s fine, provided you own the copyright and give us your permission to reprint it. You will of course retain the copyright to your story.

This isn’t exactly a competition, but depending on the quantity and quality of entries, we cannot guarantee to include all those we receive. Our plan is to end up with a volume of terrific stories by indie authors that will be a smart way of demonstrating to bookshops not just how much we love them but also the quality of self-published work. Gifting a copy to the manager of your neighbourhood bookstore could be a great starting point for conversation or, if you’re already established there, a memorable way to express your thanks for their support.

We plan to launch this book early in 2016, so the deadline for entries is 31st October 2015. Please email your entries giving full details of your name (and pen-name if different), with your story embedded in the body of your email, to debbie [at] allianceindependentauthors.org. I’m happy to receive these as soon as you are ready, so please don’t wait till the last minute to send them in.

I look forward to reading your contributions to both of these exciting projects.

Invitation to take part in two exciting new book projects for #Authors4Bookstores Click To Tweet

Debbie Young

Debbie Young writes warm, funny feel-good fiction, including the Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries series, which begins with the bestselling "Best Murder in Show". As ALLi's Author Advice Center Manager, she also writes guidebooks for authors. Founder and director of the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival, she is a frequent speaker at other literary events. Find out more about Debbie's writing life on her author website www.authordebbieyoung.com.

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This Post Has 8 Comments
  1. Walter Henry’s in Bideford, North Devon are great supporters of local authors. They host events, prominently display our books and offer helpful feedback and advice. A terrific resource for the self-publisher.

  2. Shout out to Oy Toys, the best independent Jewish book store in Atlanta!
    Mrs. Levy is a big fan of my Jewish holiday children’s series (www.shirasseries.com) and I thank her for it. She provides great advice, promotins and connections.
    Independent book stores are awsome for self published authors!

  3. I have been blessed to work with over 25 bookshops in the Pacific Northwest (USA) to place my books. It began as a consignment and mutual marketing partnership. Most bookstores in my area take on indie authors first on consignment. I give them 2-5 books on a 40% discount. Depending on the store, they stock those books for two to six months. If they have not sold after the designated period, I have to pick them up.

    Fortunately, in all the bookstores my five books usually sell out within one month. This means that now those bookstores buy my books in advance, instead of me having to consign them, because I have a track record of selling. I have found that if a do things for them (plan signing events with me and other authors in similar genre), market to my network along with their marketing efforts, and occasionally write a guest post for their newsletters that it garners me recognition with their clients and the booksellers are happy to hand sell my books.

    Though I have 25 wonderful stores, there are two that are standouts not only for me but actively seek indie authors and their books. Jan’s Paperbacks, owned by Debbie Burke, in Aloha, Oregon and Another Read Though, owned by Elisa Saphir, in Portland, Oregon.

  4. I have always used my local bookshop, New and Secondhand Books, Station Road, Swanage and before my book came out I visited more often and cultivated a good relationship with the owner, Jill Blanchard. I checked that the publisher had sent an Advance Information Sheet and said I would get the owner some LIKES on Facebook and publicise it when she stocked my book. She has taken two deliveries direct from me of 10 books and sold them and is now on her second lot of 5 since Christmas. Grandma’s Poetry Book has been in the window twice, first for a whole month before Christmas and then for a couple of weeks around Mothers’ Day. I take her my homespun flyers which are targeted for her (no Amazon mention) and she has been putting them in bags when people buy other books. I abandoned Amazon for purchases and now order my books through her shop. I have promoted her on Facebook and Twitter and pop in regularly to check how many copies are there. She charges a favourable ‘local author’ rate. I have my book in four other Dorset bookshops by taking in a sample copy or posting one for review preceded by a phone call. Altogether I have been delighted with how receptive these independent bookshops have been.

  5. My novel, Kritsotopoula, Girl of Kritsa, has its basis in a true story set in our home village of Kritsa on the Greek island of Crete.
    In the nearby holiday resort of Elounda, the wonderful Eklektos Bookshop is popular with locals and holidaymakers alike. I decided that if the owner of Eklektos, Lynne McDonald read my draft novel and agreed to stock it as a paperback I would go ahead with publication. Not only did Lynne agree to stock the book but she also acts as my distributor to get the books into Crete. We now take every opportunity to give each other support knowing that what is good for one of us is good for the other.

    1. Wow, what a great collaboration, Yvonne! And I know you’re a super ambassador for the Eklektos Bookshop because I’ve seen you mention it so often in social media. A true win-win relationship, thank you for sharing it here.

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