Booksellers, we know you never have enough time to do all the marketing things you’d like. Authors for Indies is 100% run by volunteers, so if we’re to go beyond the basics and offer more initiatives to help bookstores, we need sponsors and partners. More to the point, we need folks who can take an idea and run with it on their own.
Canadian book and gift sales agency Ampersand has stepped up to do a trial run of the Adopt-a-Bookstore program, with participation from students of Centennial College’s publishing program. The goal is to lighten the marketing load for bookstores and improve results.
Briefly, student teams will volunteer their time and skills to bookstores to assist in running Authors for Indies campaigns. They will work with bookstores to develop marketing plans suitable for the stores’ local community, media channels, featured authors, customer base – and then carry out those plans. Some of those activities could include:
- Ramping up social media
- Reaching out to local press/media for coverage
- Cross-promotions with other local businesses
- Outreach to institutions such as libraries and local literary festivals
- Getting support (attendance, endorsement) from local celebrities and politicians
It’s an initiative that benefits AFI as well as bookstores. The Adopt-a-Bookstore program makes for good news interest, which makes it easier for our PR folks to get media attention. It also broadens the audience base by involving schools and their students, a social media-savvy demographic that will get the word out.
This is a pilot program, limited this year to a few stores. Morgen Young of Ampersand, also an instructor at Centennial, will supervise the student teams. The stores that have agreed to be adopted this year are:
- Misty River Books in Terrace, BC
- Another Story in Toronto, ON
- Blue Heron Books in Uxbridge, ON
- Café Books in Canmore, AB
It's a lot of work but we know it will deliver a valuable learning experience to Centennial’s students and a terrific Authors for Indies Day to 'their' bookstores. Big, big thanks to Ampersand and Centennial!
For names of students involved this year, take a look at the sponsor acknowledgement for Centennial College.