I wish I had a list and could divide states up into Supportive, Not, and It Depends. Not wanting to offend people from any areas or make grand generalities that I can't back up except to say, Well, yeah, anyway...I'll mention a few places that I know are in the Supportive category.
Top on the list is New Hampshire. While WiDo can't schedule a signing in some of the Barnes and Noble stores no matter what hoops they jump through, the stores in New Hampshire will actually work with you and let you in the door for a signing.
|New Hampshire author G. M. Browning at the launch event for his high seas adventure novel, Cerulean Isle (WiDo, 2011)|
Other of the smaller states on the Eastern seaboard are good to local authors as well, like Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine.When WiDo's sales team has called in these areas about stocking a new release, their first question is always, "Is it a local author?"
Another top state is Minnesota. They are super-supportive. They are proud of their Minnesota authors and will do book signings, newspaper interviews, generally whatever you ask if they can.
Nebraska is the same. I loved working with the local bookstores and newspapers when I planned my Farm Girl tour to Nebraska.
Texas is proud of Texas and Texans. Here's a copy of one of WiDo Publishing's books, written by Houston resident Paul Yarbrough, found in a local Houston bookstore. The guy holding up the book is my son who was visiting Texas recently with his wife and just happened to run across this while book-browsing.
|A Happy Find: Mississippi Cotton by Paul H. Yarbrough (WiDo, 2011)|
California is pretty good, too. But it's such a huge state that you can get lost there, so the smaller areas might be the best place to start. The economy is especially bad for California right now and many of the independents have closed. Still, if you're a California author, or have ties to the area, you should be able to schedule signings in a number of bookstores, if you can find ones that are still in business.
Colorado is pretty supportive as well but also falls into It Depends. Like where in Colorado are you talking about? Denver tends to be a bit snootier about it than smaller, rural areas.
What experiences have you had locally in working with your independent or chain bookstores?