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How To Collaborate With Local Bookstores In Your Publishing Strategy 

Today, most authors have their books exclusively available on Amazon. But this approach is detrimental to indie bookstores, which provide an escape for readers and bring book lovers together. These human connections and camaraderie are things Amazon can't offer and the reason the reading culture has blossomed to what it is today. As an indie author, you can still make a remarkable success online while supporting your local bookstore. This article shows you four steps to approaching local booksellers and creating a mutually beneficial relationship.

1. Build long-term, personal relationships with your local indie bookshop. The internet is the primary place where marketing takes place for indie publishing because it offers quick results. But the first step for a self-publisher shouldn't be necessarily fast but rewarding. For this reason, it is profitable to build a long-term, personal relationship with your local, independent bookshop. Spend time and money at these shops, attend author events, and introduce yourself to the owners and booksellers at the store. With an established relationship, you can approach the shop as a friend when it's time to promote and sell your book. The writing business is all about relationships, and independent bookstores would love to support local authors that they know.

2. Ask for marketing advice from local booksellers. Contrary to popular opinion, booksellers are some of the most helpful people in the publishing industry. They are available to give you advice on how to sell and promote your work. Once you have established a relationship with them, you can ask them for a moment to discuss the book you intend to publish. And you will be surprised how often they will oblige you. Booksellers understand the ins and outs of books and how to sell them. They are proficient in promoting and selling books and can be a massive resource for self-published authors.

3. Don’t publish exclusively on Amazon. For your relationship with your local bookstore to thrive, everybody needs to benefit from it. You, as an author, shouldn't portray the image of a parasite. So, when you seek advice from booksellers, explain how you would like to publish your work in a way that wouldn't be unprofitable to the local bookshop. This promise means you won't be publishing exclusively on KDP. Amazon’s print-on-demand platform doesn't work for the benefit of local bookstores; it has posed an existential and predatory threat to independent bookstores for a long time. To include indie bookstores in your publishing strategy, you may need to distribute to them through a wholesaler like Ingram. Or you can ask these stores where they order their books. 

4. Support your independent bookshop financially
To ensure that this relationship is mutually beneficial, you need to be willing to give as much as you take. Support your independent bookstore financially. Purchasing books in a bookshop is a gesture of goodwill and gratitude for the advice and resources booksellers have offered. When the relationship is mutually supportive and profitable, both the author and the shop will perform well. 

Why should you bother working with local bookstores?
Remember that bookstores represent the empathy and human connection associated with books. Before you chose to be a writer, you happened upon a book that changed your life, inspired you, and improved your perspective for the better. This life-changing effect could be why you decided to become an author, to offer others the same experience. You write, on some level, because you love to read and love how books can provide a kindred spirit and save lives. These reasons are why bookstores exist, and if you visit your local bookstore today, you'll see why they are so essential.

Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Frank Stephen