Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"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

Monday, April 16, 2012

New Hampshire: A great place to be if you're an author

Some places are so fantastic at supporting their local authors. Others just seem to slam doors in your face. I'm not sure why this is. Why should the culture of one area be welcoming and rewarding to its writers, regardless of where you published, while others turn up their noses and act all high and mighty?

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?


  1. Replies
    1. This is great information! Makes you want to reach out to those states.

  2. I guess in the Carolinas it falls under 'it depends.'

  3. That GM Browning guy looks a lot like a guy I know.

  4. I can actually say I've been to Texas (Well, Houston and Galveston) and San Diego, California! Yay! take care

  5. Yay New Hampshire!! (New Hampshire resident here) I haven't had any personal experience with this but I do know that there's a indie bookstore in town that really does goes above and beyond to help the local authors get the word out.

  6. I've done signings in about a dozen states on the East Coast. Florida and Ohio are very open and inviting. Funny, the B&N's here in NC are very closed while other states they are very open.

  7. How does Florida rate? Just curious. :-)

  8. I heart the Granite state! G.M Browning was such an awesome author to meet. He had a fun book signing. My kids were tickled pink to get some pirate coins!

    I'm having fun reading everyone's A-Z posts.

  9. Interesting post. It's odd that a large company like Barnes & Noble doesn't have common standards that translate across state lines. Then again, I guess they have to know the specific demographics for each of their locations. Metro Atlanta is fairly writer-friendly, but the rest of the state, not so much.

  10. That is so interesting. I didn't know it varied from state to state.

  11. Oh yea!. I live in a supportive state. Maybe there will be hope in the future.

  12. Thank you for including my state, California. In the bay area, where so many talented and published writers live, we are fortunate to {still!} have many independent bookstores. Quite a few are supportive of local authors, some even having special shelves just for us. You are right that the state is big. So big, that ‘local’ does not mean from California, but from a nearby town.

  13. Loved this post! One of the things that made me happiest when we moved from Chicago to Portland, OR a decade ago was discovering Powell's Books, an independent bookstore here that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books.

    They're extremely author-friendly and I've had nothing but good experiences with them.

  14. Hi Karen Interesting post. Thanks for sharing the information.


  15. My home state! I haven't gotten to the indie store stage yet, but it's great information for when I get there.

  16. Hello.
    I too am amazed at the differences from state to state. Interesting information. Thanks for sharing.

    Thanks for all the work you and the other do for us bringing the A-Z Challenge to us. I'm participating for the first time and am really enjoying it. Here's my entry for "N":Neglected

  17. I'd like to visit all of these states. It would great to be able to fund a tour through appearances. Then you could pay the expenses necessary for book signings.

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