Hat tip to Karen Ahle for the title of today’s post.
I really am a shameless dabbler. I’m not an expert in anything, but if asked, I can answer questions on a lot of topics, and have often joked I have a ‘trivial mind’ because I know a little about a lot. I’m interested in topics that vary broadly, and today’s post is going to reflect that. I’m having an incredibly lazy day, since my dear First Reader has the day off and we are whiling away the time together, a rare treat.
During the course of the day, Amazon has come up a couple of times, both positvely and negatively, as often seems the way. I, personally, like the service Amazon gives me, both as an author and a consumer. I hate shopping, malls literally give me panic attacks, and the idea of wasting half my day tracking an obscure item down, much less visiting more than one store to compare prices… well, that’s right out. But my life is diverse, as I said, I’m interested in a lot of things, and Amazon makes it so simple. Some websearching, price comparisons, look at reviews (when have you been able to do *that* in a brick-and-mortar store?), click it into my cart, and I’m all done. Saves me time, effort, and money. What more could you ask for?
Sure, I’m all for Mom and Pop shops. They can be fun. But I’m always on a budget. Poor college student, mother of four, self-employed… I can’t afford to support Mom and Pop, too. But I can use Amazon to boost my own income, and I do. I’ve sold used books there, could sell other things, too, but decided I’d use Etsy for those. As an Indie Publisher, it’s a god-send to distribute my own books world-wide, for relatively little money. Sure, I could use Smashwords and other places, and will for some things, but they don’t give me a fraction of the sales I get through Amazon. I’d read this article today about Indie Bookstores, and thought “wow, if only…”
See, that’s the thing. Indie Bookstores aren’t friends with Indie Authors. You would think, given the similar names… but no. I’ve approached a couple with ‘hey, I have a book out’ and like the author of the article, been made to feel like it was something to be ashamed of. The exception to this has been Mansfield’s Books in Tilton, NH, because George is awesome. If you’re in the area, his shop is worth traveling to see. Because I’m a dabbler, I do have more to offer a bookstore than just “I’m an author”, and Lin Wicklund suggested I pair the two businesses I run and use that to parlay a relationship with a bookstore, which I’m going to explore, thank you Kitteh-Dragon.
But now, I’m off to run errands with my sweetheart and our dog, maybe take a long walk with them, and perhaps we will go find a bookstore I know of and haven’t checked out yet… Because while I do like Amazon, I also like bookstores and want to encourage them, if they aren’t hoity-toity. Warm, friendly, knowledgeable… bookstore owners, if you read this, that’s what we readers are looking for.
Oh, yes, for all you readers out there: free story by Sarah Hoyt on the Baen main site, scroll down to find it…
For you aspiring authors out there, a great post by Peter Grant on his long-term plan and how he is implementing it.