Indie Author Road Trip (Day 8, Pt 6): How to get bookstores to carry your book w Allison Moon

by Reid on May 4, 2018

Indie Author Road Trip (Day 8, Pt 6): How to get bookstores to carry your book w Allison Moon



Allison shares some tips for approaching bookstores to carry your book.

Reid: Alright, ladies and gentlemen.

Allison: We’re in California.

Reid: Yeah.

Allison: We drove down the eight from Arizona down a highway that leads very close to Mexican border, went to a very creepy checkpoint that had a list of how many pounds of drugs. They’ve confiscated and there’s helicopter trailing something right there.

Reid: Yeah. We’re kind of like in Cali Mexico.

Allison: Yeah. Mexi Cali.

Reid: Mexi Cali.

Allison: And Reid almost take a picture of that sign but I’d encourage him not to because I don’t want to get unduly detained.

Reid: This weird shadow you’re seeing is the rare view mirror in case you’re wondering.

Allison: Yeah.

Reid: It’s very bright where we are because it’s in sunny California.

Allison: Sunny California. Looks a little bit like Arizona. A lot of deserts a lot of rocks but we’re about maybe just about an hour away from San Diego. It’s amazing how California landscape changes quickly.

Reid: Real shot of the landscape. Got just whizzing by brash, dirt rocks, beautiful.

Allison: So what do you want to talk about, honey?

Reid: I don’t know, looks like we’ve been talking about relationships and jealousy, type of publishing, type of books.

Allison: Yeah. When we go visit one of San Diego Mysterious Galaxy which is a fabulous science fiction and fantasy exclusive bookstore and they’re really sweet people. I went there at the end of October beginning of November. Had a really fun event there and they are just really nice people so we go check in on them and see if they still have copies of my books. If they got any new ones in if I can signed up and if they need more books then I will, I might mailed on them because I do sell on a consignment for Mysterious Galaxy. So if you’re in San Diego and you want a copy, probably pick up there or you can definitely order to them. [Inaudible 00:02:04] them.

Reid: And how do bookstores find out about your book? Like do you tell them to… is it…

Allison: Yeah.

Reid: Like how does somebody like that get to your book on their shelf?

Allison: Yeah. So, I’m part of the Ingram network because I used Lightning Source to print my books which is a large printer. I have automatic distribution through Ingram which is the largest distribution network in the country or maybe in the world. It’s very helpful to have this option because basically what happens when I go print through them, through Lightning Source and get through the Ingram network, I pay like $14 a year to be in their catalogue. And being in the catalogue basically means that exact thing. Bookstore owners like anybody get catalogues of new releases that are coming out and it’s also searchful so if there’s [inaudible 00:02:53] like Charis Books where we went to Atlanta is feminist specific, my book is listed as women’s interests. My books are also listed as fantasy so if you have a fantasy bookstore and you want to stock your fantasy section, you can look and find me there as well and gay and lesbian of course in which is really the main genre of my book so people who stock gay lesbian titles, my book really shines them.

So that’s one way for them to know me but that again is just that I’m basically being in iTunes and try to find a new song, right? Like you might stumble across something but if you want to be connected with the right song, you have to do a little bit more like work and so for me, I sent out an email kind of personalized email to a ton of bookstores. I’ve basically researched all the feminist bookstores left in America, sadly they are not that many of them. I also researched feminist bookstores overseas because my book is available to order in pretty much any country which is great and I also… show those rocks.

Reid: Oh, hang on. Keep talking.

Allison: Pretty rocks.

Reid: Lots and lots and lots of rocks, ladies and gentlemen.

Allison: So basically that’s one way of doing it and I also sent emails to bookstores in the Bay Area obviously there are a lot of great bookstores in Bay Area. And I also wanted them to know that I’m local so I sent emails saying, “Oakland local releases lesbian werewolf book”.

Reid: Was it like a press release or just like a regular email?

Allison: I sent mostly emails, regular emails to bookstore and just like personal because it’s like most bookstores have contact information online, some of them even knew already so I just sent an email like, “Hey, I’m me”

Reid: And small feminist bookstores that are run by people.

Allison: Yeah. I mean…

Reid: We have lives.

Allison: Even Barnes & Noble has store buyers and they have system like buyers but they also have individual buyers like used a lot of control that individual booksellers had even at the larger level.

Reid: And that’s how you got in to Barnes & Noble in New York.

Allison: Yeah. I’ve had a friend who worked there. She liked people a lot she thought of deserved to be stocked there and so she ordered batch. That’s really how it works, it’s all about personal relationships. The marketing part could be hard because again like as writers, like I’m, I don’t it doesn’t seem like it but I’m shy. I don’t like the silly approaching new people just without any contacts. So for me…

Reid: That’s my job.

Allison: Yeah, essentially. You got to pour me out which works. But it can be anxiety making and so this is the hard part but the problem in many ways is that, even if you go through traditional publisher a lot of this stuff is kind of unavoidable. You might have a PR agent in traditional publishing house but there’s still a lot of work that you need to do on your own behalf and that’s the hardest part for me is like even though I like talking about my book and the themes of my book and like doing a readings and like being out in the world it’s still hard for me to approach somebody like, “Hey, would you mind? Maybe carrying my book at your bookstore?”

There are a lot of really amazing bookstore that are looking for cool new content. Some people if you self-publish might be dicks about it. I haven’t encountered any booksellers who are prejudiced against it but I know that there are people who are so…

Reid: So my phone is flashing. So that means I’m about to run out of disk space…

Allison: Oh, okay. Is that good?

Reid: That was great.

Allison: Okay.

Reid: Where did they find you for those just joining us?


Reid: Okay. I’m Reid Mihalko from can we music out here before this shuts off?

Allison: Oh yeah.

Reid: And then we’ll upload them. From California ladies and gentlemen. On our way to San Diego. As we find a musical song. There you go. Leave your comments, subscribe to the channel.

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