Romancing Your Bookseller
Copyright 2003 by Patricia Anderson
In the winter's flurry of gift shopping, do yourself a favor—and visit your local bookseller.
As writers, we don't need to be convinced that books make great gifts. As readers and book buyers, we routinely turn to our booksellers for advice on the latest good reads, gorgeous coffee table books, compelling nonfiction, and so on.
This sort of everyday exchange is a reminder of just how crucial booksellers are for authors and for the success of our books. In a release to members of the Writers' Union of Canada, the Canadian author and publisher Mona Fertig remarks that she never ceases to be amazed at the power of a bookseller.
"Customers come in all the time looking for a good book and often look to the bookseller/employee for guidance." Bookstores are the hub of many a community, she points out, and booksellers can have "a strong influence" on the buying decisions of local libraries, community groups, teachers, customers old and young, and book clubs.
Fertig offers the following tips to authors:
- Don't underestimate your local booksellers
- Make friends with them (if you can and want)
- Give them your new book to read (if you think they'll like it)
- Give them your business
In other words, figuratively speaking, try "romancing" your bookseller. A little friendly liaising can go a long way toward enhancing an author's local reputation and book sales.
In the best spirit of the season, Mona Fertig suggests that authors include booksellers among their holiday gift recipients. "Give them chocolates or coffee." It's a simple but effective way of showing that you have taken to heart her final tip: "Respect their time and knowledge of bookselling."
To those words of advice I would add one further observation: In the end, you'll be giving yourself a gift.