Before becoming an author, I had never considered how books got published. Traditional. Indie. Somewhere in between. I bought books in stores and online from a variety of retailers and authors, never paying much mind.
But let’s back up a few years. I worked in a book store through my college years. The small mall store, Walden Books, where I fed my love of books by spending my paycheck on buying more books. This was back in the late nineties/early two-thousands, and the first I heard of Amazon.
Folks would come in, then tell me they could get the book cheaper on Amazon. There was nothing I could do about it, so I usually said, “Okay. Then buy it on Amazon.” I said it casually, but really I loathed Amazon!
Fast forward to our current time, and you’re hardpressed to live without Amazon. (Spoken like a privilaged girl living in a first world country, I know, but that’s a conversation for another time). I held out for years. Decades. Then I found a book I NEEDED and it was ONLY available via Amazon. Eventually I caved and bought it.
I used to have a nook and I would only read books from Barnes & Noble. After going through several nooks, I got a Kindle. With the Kindle Unlimited subscription. Because I read that many books!!
It’s a slippery slope, Amazon. I can get toilet paper, new jeans, a book, and organic flour all in one go. AND it will be delivered in two days.
Back to books …
When I started submitting my work to publishers, I learned quickly that the big name tradional ones would never even bother reading my submission. That’s just the reality of it. They’re swamped with entries, and from what I can tell, they decline the vast majority without reading them first. I can’t count the number of generic rejections I recieved! It didn’t take long to notice that indie publishers were the ones reading my work, even if they still rejected it.
Getting published meant success. My book was out in the world! What did I care if it was only available through Amazon? Most romance sales are ebooks and most are via Amazon, so I didn’t think much about it and signed on the line.
I’ve since published two more books with this indie outfit who took a chance on me, and they’ve been fabulous. Not that I know the difference, but I’m convinced a tradional publisher isn’t there to talk every day all the time. We email. We facebook. We skype. All the time. Not even just me and the publishers, but me and all the other authors published with them. We’re a brilliant support system and have become friends. What more could a girl ask for?
I’ll tell you what: a book store to sell my books.
Seriously, y’all, I WANT to have my books in stores. As of right now, the ONLY place willing to sell my books is Local Roots, a coffee shop in my small town. And bless them, they’re awesome and make the best coffee, too!
A semi-local indie bookstore recently shared an aritlce about Not Linking to Amazon. I read it. I liked it. I commented that I wish I had another option.
The owner of the store proceeded to tell me I chose to work for Amazon, as well as the myriad of reasons that kept my book from her (and other indie) shelves.
Honestly, it stung.
Like, I cried. Then I talked with a good friend to get some perspective. Then I went online searching for Indie Bookstores that ONLY stock Indie Authors.
Right? It’s the ultimate badass dream!!
Unfortunately, I didn’t find much.
P J Boox in Fort Myers, Florida looks like a dream! A real live bookstore with only Indie authors!
Book Potato has an online store specifically aimed at helping authors self-publish, and if you live near Leatherhead, Surrey, then you should definitely check them out (when they open their physical store, soon)!!
Not to be all hipster on you, but the Indie books are where it’s at! I read probably half commercially available books, usually YA or memoir. The rest are Indie books by authors who are dominating the Romance and Chick Lit genres. Books you won’t find on a shelf unless you make a trip to The Ripped Bodice.
I don’t have the time/energy/money to open a book store. Maybe one day.
Until then, I’ll link to Amazon. I’ll wish I could make the Indie bookstores understand the rise of Indie authors and how that’s the future of book selling.
You can find my books on Amazon.
You can find BB Easton’s books on Amazon.
You can find Staci Hart.
Also, Claire Contreras.
And Brittainy C. Cherry.
Don’t forget Megan Mayfair.
Oh, and about a thousand others (millions, probably).