This past week’s #indiechat topic was “How to Pitch Your Books to Indie Stores.” Armed with helpful research and great questions on the part of chat participants, we’ve curated a list of some excellent tips that will help you create the perfect pitch for your book. You can also see the entire archived indiechat on our Storify account here.
1. Come up with your angle by investigating the bookstore
Some indie stores cater to a particular section/genre. At the Women and Children First bookstore in Chicago, a book espousing feminist themes would be favored over one involving a traditional patriarchal society. Knowing your audience is definitely a must.
— E.A. Hennessy (@EA_Hennessy) October 20, 2015
— Bibliocrunch (@BiblioCrunch) October 20, 2015
2. Don’t forget your manners This may seem simplistic and straight-forward, but you’d be surprised how many indie authors take on “assumed familiarity syndrome”-e.g., they think that indie author + indie bookstore =match made in heaven. Remember that the indie world represents a wide variety of talent and work. Humbleness is key.
3. Come prepared A majority of bookstores will not have an extensive number of computers at their disposal (bookstore computers are mainly on the sales floor so that customers can search their database), so it’s best to rely on tangible, paper objects for your presentation. When pitching your book, you should bring a copy of your book and a spec sheet.
4. Advertise your Author Persona Strengths Are you a social media ninja? A podcaster with a sizable listener following? A veteran author with a devoted fan base? It’s to your advantage to play up your authorial strengths to your potential seller. While bookstore clientele appreciate books as much as the next bookworm consumer, at the end of the day, it’s still a business involved in the numbers game; if you have a tool in your arsenal that can bring in $$, all the better!
5. Check in with your stores Once you’ve landed your book in an indie bookstore (congratulations!), be sure to check in every couple of months on the well-being of the book. By checking in, you’re showing the bookstore owners that you consider yourself personally accountable for the success of your book, which further sets you up for the likelihood of successful pitches in the future.
6. If you face rejection, keep on keeping on!
I know, easier said than done. Remember, at the end of the day, everyone has faced rejection of some variety in their life. Ever heard of a little writer named J.K. Rowling? Harry Potter was turned down by 12 PUBLISHERS before it ended up in the hands of Bloomsbury! Unbelievable, right? Since Ms. Rowling is well-versed in the world of rejection, I will allow her beautiful words to close out this section: “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”
We hope that these tips will help you in preparing your pitch! Let us know on facebook or twitter if you have any other thoughts! Good luck out there!
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