Last weekend, I went to the Grand Opening of a little bookstore here in Southern California. After the ceremonial ribbon cutting, we all filed inside and were met with creative shelving and displays bearing indie author-only publications. My own book was there, tempting potential readers with a face-out display on one shelf and a spine view on another. Several other indie authors were on hand for the opening as were readers who benefitted from the ability to actually see, pick up and look through an independently published title.
I come from the era of book and record stores. The joy of discovery I would get by being able to browse shelves and racks for as long as I wanted, picking up books and records, reading their stories or taking in the artwork is something that many of us recall with great fondness. I worked at Tower Records for 14 years and saw many changes in the industry, culminating with the eventual demise of the brick and mortar stores altogether.
Record stores have definitely begun to make a comeback and there are many very good shops now where one can experience the excitement of finding a treasure that you never knew existed or picking up a long-lost favorite. I am hopeful that bookstores will have the same renaissance soon.
Pipe & Thimble Bookstore is at the cutting edge of this trend that I hope will spread across the country. Brave co-owners Barb and Ellie Lieberman, mother and daughter authors themselves, understand the challenges indie authors face with marketing and reaching potential readers. Supporting businesses like theirs will encourage others to strike out on their own and hopefully we will see more local businesses be open to independent authors and artists of all kinds.
In tandem with this, I am calling for all indie authors to embrace our unique situation and world with a new twitter, Facebook, Google, Pinterest, etc. call to arms-a new hashtag: #readrecommendreview. I call this the Three R’s and if we all attach this to our posts in some form or another, perhaps we can turn the tide a bit in our favor. Pipe & Thimble Bookstore is onto this as well by providing book buyers with a complimentary lollypop with an accompanying request to review the book that they have just purchased. While many people download our books and some even read them, few people take the time to post a review and they might not realize how much it means to us authors to have them do so.
So let’s get to work, comrades! Let’s start using the Three R’s in all of our social media and correspondence. Let’s start a new movement in the indie author world!
Spread the word about Pipe & Thimble if you feel so inclined and if you’re in Southern California, be sure and stop by (Pipe & Thimble Bookstore, 24830 Narbonne Avenue, Lomita, California 90717).