Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
As kind of anticipated, I seem to be up against the proverbial wall when it comes to getting indie bookstores to sell my new indie novel, Town Father. I’ve sent out a bunch of pitches, but not one store has responded. Not even with a polite “No thank you.”
I talked about this a few weeks ago with respect to the bookstore manager who said that CreateSpace books are not welcome in her consignment program. It would appear that she’s not alone and that the response of booksellers at large is to punish the authors of indie books. Maybe this makes sense as a lashing out, since Amazon is way too huge for them to have any effect on with some sort of boycott or sassing campaign. And I know, Amazon has been like Godzilla in the book business, rampaging ashore and trashing the place, pretty much destroying the old model. Now people buy straight from Amazon at a deep discount, and the bookstores are wondering why people won’t pay $29 for the same new hardback they can grab at Amazon for $14.99.
Come and drink some tea in our comfy chairs, they say. Come and pet our store cat and peruse our fine wrapping papers and fanciful snow globes and scented candles that are taking up table space where some indie books could have been displayed. Our self-help section is right over here…
When did bookstores become so effing precious?
The proprietors I’ve reached out to clearly have contempt for the indie author, equating him (i.e., moi) with the consequences of Amazon’s dominance. They won’t even answer my queries, and in that they have become yet another gatekeeper in the infinite gauntlet of gatekeepers between authors and readers. Just think of the message this is sending: If you aren’t published by one of the Big 5, you can’t have access to our customers. If you’re uppity enough to self-publish, especially via Amazon, we can’t even acknowledge your existence, much less your value as a writer. It’s business, kid. If you can’t stand the heat…
Well, all I can say is, if I ever set foot in a bookstore again (right now they’re dead to me, do you hear? — dead to me!), it’ll be because some enlightened manager understands that I’m not harming her business. I’m in the same business, as a matter of fact — bringing good books to eager readers. And I’ll be going in to drop off copies of Town Father and to shake that manager’s hand. I might even buy a book while I’m there.
Get real, indie bookstores. We’re in this together. Support your friendly neighborhood author.