Saturday, October 29, 2011

I'm Not Here to Bury Booksellers

While I was reading my email, I happened to stumble across an item about booksellers on the DorothyL list.

It's called 10 Myths About Bookselling.

Now, when I post to this blog, if it isn't a review, I try to write about books, reading, bookstores, libraries, etc.

I'm writing this post for the booksellers. I hope readers will enjoy it, too.

I thought the article was totally awesome. And I'm an author who makes most of my money from the sale of ebooks.

However, I still love print books. And I still publish all my novels in print editions, as well as ebook versions. Plus audio. Just sayin'. :)

Anyhow, I once wrote on another blog that I didn't think that print books would ever die completely. Essentially, I think this is true for the same reason that vinyl records haven't disappeared from the face of the earth completely. New technologies may become more popular, but that doesn't mean old ones will completely vanish. Necessarily.

And here's another thing. I share something in common with indie booksellers. I'm disadvantaged. I have a physical disability. It has a very real effect on my stamina and ability to write.

This is true whether I use speech recognition software or not. When your limbs are clenching non-stop and you can't do anything about it except grit your teeth and keep going, it saps your energy, creatively and otherwise.

I'm telling you this not in a bid for pity, but to let you know that I share your frustration at being at a disadvantage. I would love to be able to write even three books a year, but I can't. My physical capabilities simply won't allow it. And I need to maintain a work-life balance of some sort.

So I know how you must feel as you see Amazon take over the world of bookselling. It must really, really suck.

I'm not here to apologize for the way I make money. Fiction writing is my business. I've never asked you to apologize for allowing 100% refunds to publishers in exchange for returned books. You're in this to make money, too. So, I'm sure you had your reasons for adopting that policy. Let's not get all pissy over that, right?

I'm here as a friend of booksellers to offer a suggestion. You know it's important to have an online presence these days. A Web site is fine, but not enough. Start a blog.

Why a blog? Because a blog = power.

Case in point: one of THE smartest marketers on the Internet is Jenny Lawson. Her blog is called The Bloggess.

Now, she is entertaining, of course. Especially with awesome off-the-wall posts like this one!

But if you scroll down, you'll notice she has a place she calls "my shop (tentatively called “Eight pounds of uncut cocaine” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.)"

That's where she sells these products.

Now ... books are products. And you guys are booksellers.

That article about the 10 myths had lines that would look awesome on T-shirts, coffee cups and other things that bookstores could sell. On or offline.

I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

PS: It helps to think a little outside the (big) box, okay?

PPS: I have five blogs, so I have some experience. And through hard work (and luck), even a gimpy self-published author can make this list. ;)

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