An indie bookseller in our area, Dragons & Fairy Tales, is celebrating its first anniversary with a hoopla of events and booksignings. Two WiDo authors are scheduled for signings. Then, this amazingly awesome local bookstore is having a going-out-of-business sale after Thanksgiving, after they celebrate their one year anniversary. The owners, a young couple with a dream and a love of good books, will be okay, but the community will be losing an asset.
It's hardly surprising that local, independent bookstores are struggling when big chain stores are closing everywhere, too. When I went on my Farm Girl tour three years ago, one of the booksellers told me that Amazon had hurt his business so badly that he wasn't sure he would ever recover. This was before the Kindle. The combination of Amazon and other online vendors, plus now the fast-growing popularity of ebooks, makes it hard to believe that the brick and mortar bookstores will ever thrive again.
All this makes an interesting predicament for writers and publishers-- if bookstores are closing their doors, how do we sell our books?
I believe there's still a need for publishers. Writers need editors and a support group to assist in getting their work polished and out to the market. (Yes, you can go it alone, but it's tough and you have to pay for everything yourself along the way, including editing.) That market used to be bookstores. What is it now? There's your million dollar question. I think those publishers still hanging onto the fantasy of making it with bookstore sales will be hurting very soon, if not already.
WiDo Publishing has been encouraging their authors to have a stronger social media presence. Some of them are doing very well with that, others are resisting it. Sales reflect it, too.
Authors must be online promoting their books through social media. Those who don't, or who come across as unpleasant, distant, arrogant (no one in this audience of course) will have poor sales. Those who do it right can become bestselling authors-- without the bookstores, without the NY Bestseller List, or Publishers Weekly, or Oprah. (That's my opinion, not that I've done it. Yet. LOL. I'm still holding out for Oprah to call and make Farm Girl a household word.)
As I see it, the future of publishing is excellent, as long as publishers and writers are realistic about what's happening and how and where their titles will sell. ONLINE. With the authors doing the bulk of the promotion. And the future of selling books is EBOOKS and ONLINE SALES of print books, fueled by the SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE and LIKABILITY of the authors. (sorry to yell but I feel really strongly about this) You've got to be online, people, and you have to be engaged with the community, and likable. Nice. Genuine.
So that's how I see it. I could be wrong. But ask my husband, he will tell you that I am rarely ever *if ever in fact one could say never* wrong about anything.
And while we're on the subject of social media, networking and selling books, I want to let you all know that the website for authors is still in progress. I had hoped the site would be up and running by now, but since I'm the social media person not the developer and programmer LOL my overzealous impatience isn't counting for much. However, it's making excellent progress and the week after Thanksgiving I'll post a complete update. So stay tuned and thank you for your patience! Happy Thanksgiving everyone :)
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown
"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it." ~Jesse Stuart
"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf