Finding readers in a new community
When a famous author moves to a new town, no introductions are needed. Local media lead with the news and bookstores stock their shelves with the entire catalog of works by “our celebrity local author.” More power to all concerned. I, on the other hand, am still building an audience. For me, moving to a new community is a mixed bag.
I had name recognition in northern Illinois thanks to my 30-year radio career. Then I retired and moved to Louisville, Kentucky, hoping I’ll have more time to write my next book. I also hoped to expand the number of bookstores stocking my novel. Nevertheless, I am starting over as I compete for shelf space at every indie bookshop in a two-hour radius of my new home.
Emails have already flown so next up is visiting the 20 or so shops I’ve identified in Lexington, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Nashville, plus those in smaller towns like Evansville, IN. Did I mention shops in Louisville? Them too. Here’s how it works: shake hands with the owner/manager and ask how many copies they want. Most will agree to a consignment deal which means they get 40% for each copy sold. You might be wondering: Those books you brought — where’d they come from? I’d like to say I ordered them from my publisher but, as a Prime member, I get free delivery so…Amazon wins.
What do I win? Not money, at least not right away. I define winning as turning on more readers to my critically acclaimed vampire novel and stoking their interest in the sequel which I hope to release next year. And you can bet, I’ll do this whole process again. Still, it will be easier if my current release sells well. And, with any luck, I’ll expand my network of bookstores from 35 to 40 or maybe even 50.
Of course, none of this will matter if the sequel sucks so I’d better stop writing this and get to work. I hope to have good news in the next few months so… Wish me luck! And I look forward to meeting you at your local bookstore.