Having just finished more than 30 book-related events in the last two months, I have a renewed appreciation for the importance of independent booksellers. They have not only welcomed me to stores in 5 states and 3 time zones. They’ve recommended my books to local libraries and schools, and featured my author talk on local radio. They’ve been willing to place my middle-grade historical novel not just in the kids section but also in the regional interest section, in the Native American history section and the Mock Newbery section. Indy booksellers read hundreds of books, not just the blockbusters but the new voices, the books for tender-hearted readers and (my favorite genre) Vampire Free Fiction! They are on their feet all day long taking customers needs to heart and leading them to the book that the Amazon algorithm will never show them.
I could hire a publicist to try to generate buzz for my book, but I could never pay someone to do what independent booksellers already do for free–share their passion for the printed word and their dedication to finding just the right story for everyone who walks through their door.
Which is why I’m so excited to be participating in Indies First on November thirtieth. This project, the brain child of Sherman Alexie, pairs authors with local bookstores where they will spend several hours helping shoppers find the perfect book. More information here. I will be spending my time at the wonderful Spokane bookstore Aunties at 420 West Main Avenue. I’ll be there from 1-3. And I’m so proud to take my turn helping people find the story that’s just right for them. Stop by and say hi if you’re in Spokane, or go here for a list of which authors are coming to your local bookstore.
I have another reason to be grateful to independent booksellers. Just last week I got word that Written in Stone is on the short list for the PNBA’s Book Award. I’m honored to be included in an award which is not segregated by genre but considers all genres on an equal footing looking only for excellence, no matter the story’s audience. Thanks to the PNBA award committee for all their hard work.
And finally a big thanks to all the bookstores that hosted or helped me this fall including: Anderson’s in Chicago, Annie Blooms in Multnomah Village, Rediscovered Bookshop in Boise, Aunties Bookstore in Spokane, Village Books in Bellingham, Mockingbird Books in Seattle, A Children’s Place in Portland, Green Bean Books also in Portland, Klindts in the Dalles, The Book Bin in Salem, The Linden Tree in Los Altos and Waucoma Bookstore in Hood River.
Oh yes, and Powells, of course. I am proud to be your colleague.
Do you have a favorite bookseller? Planning to celebrate Indies First at your local store? Let me know in the comments.