1 Firstly congratulations on writing a book, it is an amazing accomplishment! The points below are to give you an insight into working with Independent Bookshops. Firstly know your audience, I cannot stress this enough. When you approach any bookshop, ask yourself: will your book work there? What is my book about? Who is it for? For example, sci-fi does not do well in our bookshop; we have no market for it, so to stock a sci-fi novel from an unknown author would not work for us. Every bookshop has a different clientelle and they will know what will and will not work. Also, consider the time of year, Christmas is an incredibly busy time of year and your book will be lost among the copious number of gift books, biographies and new releases. May, June and July are good months, particularly for fiction, as people are always looking for a holiday read.
2 Make sure you know your stuff and are polite to the staff. People can get a bit belligerent in their haste and desire to have a bookshop stock their book but it will not help your cause. Make sure you know where the book can be sourced from (most likely Bertram’s and Gardner’s). If you are providing the books, what discount are you giving the shop? Does the book have an ISBN? A blurb, a jacket? Knowing how to invoice the shop for the books is also important. In addition, if you are published or getting published make sure you know who your publishers are and who your publicist is. When you pop into the shop or are doing a signing, please do not say to people in the Independent Bookshop that your book is available on Amazon, and when you send a link to the bookshop make sure it is not an Amazon link.
3 Please be realistic. If the shop does decide to stock your book or host an event, remember you are not David Walliams or Lee Child just yet. If only a few people show up do not be disheartened or rude to the bookshop team.
4 Be pro-active on social media (twitter, Facebook, Instagram). If you are going to do a signing in a bookshop or spread the word about your fantastic new book, tell people, tell your family, friends and colleagues and ask them to pop down to show support.
5 Remember all high streets are different; if we do not feel that your book is right for our market then do not be disheartened, it may be perfect for someone else!
Good Luck and congratulations once again on writing a book!
Chorleywood Bookshop is an independent community bookshop in Hertfordshire.
“As an independent community bookshop, we passionately promote reading as a creative cultural activity.
We have been honoured to host a variety of inspiring, notable and knowledgeable authors over the past year, who most importantly professed a love of reading and the importance of Independent Bookshops.
- We work closely with schools, taking authors in to share the excitement of reading. Every year we host a Children’s Writing Competition and work with 30 plus schools in the local area.
- Three years ago, we founded the Gift a Book scheme, whereby a children’s book bought from our shop goes to a local child in difficult circumstance or time of life. This year we supported the local Women’s Refuge, Child Bereavement UK and Playskill, an organisation supporting pre-school children with physical needs. Last year 333 children received a book for Christmas.
- We sponsor the Chorleywood Film Festival, which often selects films based on books.
- We collaborated with Chorleywood WI to host a party to celebrate 100 years of the Suffragette movement, featuring inspiring local female speakers and attended by women aged 16 to 102.
- We act as box office for multiple community projects e.g. choirs, The Teenage Cancer Trust annual concert, amateur dramatics societies and orchestras.
- A community book project with which we were involved was our bestselling book of 2018, a local history book by Chorleywood U3A. We have sold over 900 copies.
- We proudly support all the Booksellers Association initiatives. “