Writerly Things 1/27/2020: How to Frequent a Bookstore When You’re an Author in Hiding
Recently, I visited a mall bookstore and it got me wondering: how do other authors experience the bookstore when they’re an unknown? Do you keep you head down, minding your own business? Does the smell and the texture of the new books in your hands make you feel at home?
Do You Feel Comfortable Approaching the Employees?
Is the staff friendly? Do they go out of their way to help a fellow book lover? Imagine how excited they’d be to meet a new favorite author! I saw some books in there that were from Indie authors I knew. I was just as excited to see this author as the traditional ones. I imagined a day when we’d all be side-to-side on those shelves, no differences reflected by the path we chose.
Do you think when you’re ready, you’ll talk to the employees. Get a feel for how they set up author visits? When I have something ready in the future, I’m thinking I might do so. I like the cozy feel of this bookstore. The staff was pleasant. There was a nook in the corner of the front of the store for readers to sit and peruse a book. They sold more than books. Cups with cute slogans. Stuffed animals. Card sets. Merchandise. I know author’s have all kinds of swag these days so that might fit right in there.
Do You Consider Stores in the Mall “Real” Bookstores?
Out here, the number of bookstores is dwindling. There are two in the mall. One Christian. One all other genres. Of course, I was drawn to the YA section in the Bam! Books-a-Million shop I went to. It was a trip for my birthday, and I didn’t realize I’d even set foot in a bookstore earlier in the day. It was a pleasant experience and got me dreaming of a day when I’d see my own books there. I sure realized how a kid in an ice cream parlor felt. So many flavors to choose from, so much great work.
They had Books on Discount (hardcovers too) as well as the Newer stuff. I was looking for some books I love and I found a few A Curse So Dark and Lovely (a fairytale retelling of Beauty & the Beast) by Brigid Kemmemer (I still have to get her new one), Finale by Stephanie Garber (I need to pick up the first 2 books in the series), and two by Kierstan White—Slayer (as you know I loved, set in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer universe) and her new sequel, Chosen. I still need to find Strange Grace, a recent read by Tessa Gratton and Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw. They both have newer ones out as well.
Would You Frequent the Store?
If you continue to go and get to know the staff, there’s plenty of time to work up the courage to introduce yourself and explain that you’re a writer. Pay particular attention to how they’re store is set up. How the displays look. If it’s something that would work for you. Do they have authors visit the store? A big plus if they do! They may simply not have the room for an author to come in. Or it might be that they wait till you’re an established author first.
I know there are both bigger and smaller stores that invite authors in. I’m not suggesting you book shops across the country, but some local ones could help give you a boost when your novel comes out. So, how about it? Do you consider the location of a store the big plus? Or is it how friendly the staff is? How they have things set up? Whether you’re type of reader also frequents the store? What pulls you in? Keeps you there. And would you welcome an invite? Bring it up in conversation. Don’t be too eager but let them know if they’re in to allowing authors a spot in their store, you’d welcome the opportunity.