How To Not Irritate Your Local Bookshop:
A Guide For Authors
Booksellers love authors.
Booksellers particularly love local authors, because it's an excellent selling point, and a great way to introduce new authors to their customers.
Your relationship with a bookshop is one to be treated with respect. It sounds like fundamental common sense, but talking to a bookshop friend revealed that some people don't seem to be aware of some of the finer points of bookshop etiquette. So here goes.
Get your timing right
When The Fortunes of Ruby White was due to come out, I had no idea what to do. I was encouraged by my publisher to visit local bookshops and introduce myself, which I duly did.
Two things would have made this process better, in hindsight:
1) having something physical to hand out (especially important as said book was not actually in print yet); and
2) making a time to meet with the appropriate person, as I seemed to have a knack for turning up just when people had gone to lunch.
Making an appointment is especially important if you're self-published and are hoping that the bookshop will stock your work. My Bookseller Friend has noted that many people will turn up with stock in tow, only to find out that the person they need to see is not available. Appointments save both you and the bookshop staff time and trouble. Everybody wins!
(And, yes, some bookshops are happy to take self-published work on consignment. It might be best to check first, though.)
Please do not re-arrange the shelves
Print this out and take it seriously. Tell your well-meaning family and friends as well.
Although it's very tempting to pull your book out and display it in a more advantageous way (especially if you're like me and your surname starts with a letter so late in the alphabet that you usually end up in a bottom row or hidden behind a column), this is one of the fastest ways to tick off staff. They will remember you. And not in a good way.
Events are good!
Want to hold a shindig to promote your latest novel? Awesome! Events not only give you more exposure; they also bring your bookshop potential new customers.
What's even better than a shindig? An enthusiastic and organised author! Especially if you have a bunch of book-loving friends who like a drink. (I always buy more stuff when I've had a nip or two. On that note, why aren't there more bookshop-slash-bars? Sure, I'd probably be bankrupt with a month, but, you know... books!)
One final tip: make sure that your local bookshop has OKed your event before you start inviting people. (True story: my Bookseller Friend received an email advertising a book function in her shop... that she had not actually agreed to. Quelle surprise!)
So there you go: Lia's Guide To Being An Author That Your Bookshop Will Always Be Happy To See Instead Of Hiding In The Stacks.
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