As a reader, I didn’t much care where I bought my books. As an author and after reading Merchants of Culture by John B. Thompson, I do care, very much. And it’s why I started Authors for Indies.
It’s about diversity and discovery.
In a world of digital distractions, industry consolidation, and fewer media book reviews, it’s getting harder and harder for readers to discover our books. Unlike the days of old when editors could afford to spend years developing authors and backlists (watch Genius, starring Colin Firth as Maxwell Perkins), publishers are being pressured to focus on immediate revenue streams; thus they invest more in promoting a small number of bestsellers. All these factors make it tough for the average book to gain traction.
With independent bookstores, you don’t need to be on bestseller lists to be featured on their shelves. A bookseller who loves your book will hand sell it all year round. Trust me on this. Canada's indie bookstores support local and Canadian authors like nobody's business. The more bookstores we have, the more opportunities we have for readers to discover our books and to discover a wider diversity of books.
Some of Canada’s bestselling authors got their start with support from independent bookstores. Don’t take my word for it, read what authors such as Ami McKay, Terry Fallis, Jennifer Robson and Guy Gavriel Kay have to say. Our literary ecosystem benefits from lots of healthy, local, independent bookstores. From authors to readers, and everyone and every business in-between.
OK, that's admittedly a simplistic overview of a very complicated and turbulent industry. If you want to understand just how challenging the book business has become, read the Thompson book.
-- Janie Chang
What can you do to give ‘your store’ a successful AFI Day?
Contact stores and volunteer. Registered authors, please take the initiative. Log in, click on Participating Bookstores, take a look at the list of stores still lacking authors and make contact. Please consider the ones located outside metropolitan areas. We do have a challenge in Canada because of distances.
Use your mailing lists and personal contacts. This is the single best thing. Email your friends, family, colleagues, your fan base. Let them know where you will be and that you’ll be available to chat about the books you love. Not just your books, anyone’s books. When you know what activities the store will have, mention that. And of course - talk about the other wonderful authors they will meet at the store.
Support AFI's Social Media. Follow us. Share, like, and retweet.
- AFI Twitter handle: @Authors4Indies. Hashtag when you tweet about us: #AFI2017
- AFI Facebook community page: www.facebook.com/AuthorsforIndies. Please Like and Share when we post. Facebook has been limiting the number of people who see each post because they want pages to pay for ads to give the posts wider distribution. Alas, we have no budget for ad revenues; but if you Like and Share, Facebook’s algorithm thinks this is something worth promoting and we will get wider distribution.
Use your Social Media. Blog, post, and tweet about the fabulous bookstore(s) where you will be, mention your fellow authors (who will be inspired to share and retweet) and use the hashtag #AFI2017 or tag us. We’ll try to keep up and retweet.
Use AFI artwork. Check out the artwork in the Resources section of the website (you need to log in) if you'd like to brand your social media and blogs.