Friday, February 27, 2015

Getting Your Self-Published Book Into Bookstores

Rejection is rampent when trying to get your work noticed in this new noisy world of do-it-yourself publishing. As an author and bookseller I'd like to share with you why independent bookstores are your friend, if you do your research.

Getting your work noticed when you are a one artist marketing team is difficult. You're mostly going to rely on word of mouth and the best way to get the conversation started is at your local indie bookstore.

Here in the Bay Area, Independent bookstores serve as community hubs. We love to support our local authors. Here are some do's and don'ts:

-Do not go to a local bookstore and ask them to buy from Createspace. Createspace is an Amazon subsiderary.  Amazon is your local bookstore's main competator.
My grumpy face after an author snarled at me for telling her she needed to upload to Ingram.

 If I had a beer for every time a customer said to me, "I can get it cheaper on Amazon." I would have died of alcohol poisoning a year and a half ago. Given that our book orders come in days with zero shipping costs, Amazon is not cheaper. Uploading your interior and exterior file to Ingramsparks allows any bookstore to buy you. No indie will ever order from Amazon!

-Do ask to schedule an appointment to speak to the buyer and event coordinator for whatever time works best for them. Don't walk into their workspace like you wrote the bible and demand they speak with you.

Edit. Edit. Edit. Edit. Edit. Edit. Independent bookstores love their local authors, but they will not support a subpar product.

If you are patient and gracious you may be surprised at how helpful and supportive your local independent bookstore will be in helping promote your writing career.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Dear Tom, I just found out there's a portal to another dimension in your office.

The other night I left this note for our receiver at the bookstore:

Dear Tom,
I just found out there's a portal to another dimension in your office. Just thought you'd want to know. Hope you're having a good day.


When I walk into the bookstore the next day both Tom and my manager approach me.

"Adrienne, where is it?" asks my manager. 

I noticed Tom's thick black tie and stiff shouldered sport coat. Tom is wearing his nineteen-forties attire today. He likes to swing back and forth between the forties and sixties. 

"Where's what?"

"The portal."


... and then I launch into it.

The night before I was attempting to do some secondhand clothes shopping on my break during an author event, when a man from the neighboring shop intercepted me.

He told me that not only do many ghosts take up residence in our bookshop, but a portal was opened by the Masons from this building. 

Neighboring Masonic Temple

He went on to say that if I opened the door in our receiving room I would see where the old corridor was boarded up. That's where the portal is.

When I got back to the shop I headed straight back to the receiving room. I moved some book carts that were leaning up against the single old door. When I creaked it open, old brick and mortar crumbled against the new wall that separated the two buildings. 

I clicked my flashlight on my phone and shined inside. In between the two walls towards the back was a leveled old street lamp lying on it's side.

"I then shut the door and left Tom the note," I finish.

They both squint at me with creased brows.

"A book flew off the shelf by itself when I was closing one evening. You know what book it was?" asks my manager.

"No, what?"

"Ghosts of Alameda." My manager's face - dead serious.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

IWSG: Not all rejection is the same.

It's the first Wednesday of the month. Time for Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group post. Check out the link! Alex J.Cavanaugh's IWSG!

I've been posting to another author's social media site advice on handling rejection. You have to go through the hell of being on the receiving end of rejection to build up a tolerance. 

It's like building a tolerance to alcohol. After awhile, it takes a lot to get you down. An actor doesn't get nervous before going on stage because he/she's onstage every night.

But not all rejection is equal...

Four years ago I applied to a few MFA programs in the Bay Area and was rejected. I took it really hard. Looking back it was probably for the best. I submitted a pretty mediocre autobiographical statement, and my writing sample was not great.

I just finished submitting my three applications for Fall 2015 and I've been reticent to tell anyone in case I get rejected. I, the one who instructs people to embrace critique and rejection, am insecure of being rejected. 

Even though art is subjective, the judgement feels more weighted coming from the academic arena.

A beautiful writer I co-hosted at Books Inc., Nayomi Munaweera said, "As a writer in your mind you're either the best or the worst. We quickly rise to grandiosity and fall smack down to self loathing."

I'm on the downward swing as I bite my nails waiting for my letters to come in. Everything I write I hate. Any suggestions on how to snap out of it?

Cheers! You guys are great.