By Nancy Churnin
Here’s something that gets forgotten on the writer’s journey – the importance of getting to
know and support folks in your local bookstore.
People get into bookselling for the same reason authors and illustrators get into creating books – THEY LOVE BOOKS.
You sit alone, crafting your story to the best of your ability, revise, revise, revise with the help of critique partners and ultimately, you hope, with an acquiring editor. But when that book comes out, the next part of the journey is to get the book into children’s hands.
Librarians and educators are key allies. And so are the people who run bookstores. If a bookstore loves your book, they’ll display it prominently and recommend it to patrons. They may host your launch party, pitch your book to schools and, possibly, set up an arrangement where you can personalize the books people order.
So how can you build that relationship?
BOOST You think it’s a struggle making it as an author? It’s a struggle making it as a bookstore. Look for excuses to post about your local bookstore on social media.
BUY Your budget may be limited. But bookstores, especially small ones, remember every customer. Plus, there’s nothing like seeing what bookstores put on their shelves to help you understand what kind of stories and storytelling people love.
BE THERE Make regular trips to your local bookstore. While you’re there, sign your books they have in stock and see if you can help out with a storytime. On July 13, I’ll present storytimes at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. as part of the two-year birthday celebration for Interabang Books in Dallas. I stay in close touch with friends at my local Barnes & Noble and Express Booksellers, which sells books to schools and non-profits.
And here’s the best part. I’ve met wonderful people at these bookstores – people who inspire and encourage me. These are people that believe books matter. So make friends with a bookstore and the amazing people in it. You’ll be glad you did.