"Indie bookstores feel like home – for 15 years I owned a bustling shop in an upscale resort town in Colorado. We thrived on building community, hosting events, and hiring friendly and voracious readers who loved to talk about books. During my tenure, I worked with hundreds of authors, from Lisa See and Laura Lippman to Newt Gingrich and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. But most of the writers I championed (and who visited the store) were midlist or local, and their books were the ones to dominate the store’s best seller list most often. The formula was simple: together we sold more books.
Last year, I stepped out from behind the register and eventually into the role as an author. Today I experience the bookstore – and its partnership with the authors whose words stock the shelves – with a new set of eyes.
The first thing authors must understand is that the immediate gratification of retail is an addictive, frenetic part of the industry. It’s the end of the supply chain, the place where thousands of hours of creative slogging and at least several years of publishing process culminate in a single sale. Booksellers who help readers discover the right book at the right moment feel dopamine bursts of satisfaction all day every day.
In other words, sales matter above almost everything else in bookstores. If a writer keeps this rule in mind, it’s easy to build a better relationship with a bricks-and-mortar bookshop."
Read more here.