Your Books in Independent Bookstores

When 2018 started, I told myself that I would step outside of my comfort zone by trying to get my books accepted into bookstores, a challenge for an Indie Author with no large following and no large publisher backing her. But I did it and now I am making it a goal to get my books into libraries and in schools. And if it’s Yah’s will, I hope to do some public speaking. Before this year ends, I’ll be sending my email list my personal goal-setting chart and they will get to see exactly how I set my goals and the action steps I implement to achieve them. Today, I am taking the time to reveal some basic things you can do to prepare your books to be accepted at bookstores and how to go about the process and it’s yours free. All you have to do is subscribe to my email list HERE to access the PDF. You will get a welcome email and the document will be in that email. Please be sure to check your spam / junk folders if you do not see the welcome email in your inbox.

Some of the things covered in the document.

  • Know Your Why

Unless you are already famous, people aren’t gonna be checking for your books at bookstores in the same way they do online. In order for people to walk in and not look over your book, they must have some prior knowledge about who you are (more on this below). Be sure you know why you are doing this. Getting in bookstores and libraries is not some fast track to fame or money maker. That’s not what it’s about. Getting into bookstores is only a big deal to Indie writers because many of us aren’t backed by a big publisher so getting onto the shelves of brick and mortar stores gives us a greater opportunity for the possibility of hosting book signings at those stores, meet new people (who we probably would not have met online), and expanding our brand far and wide.

  • Get Your Name Out There

As you’ll see in the document, it’s not very difficult to get into small, local, Independent bookstores on consignment which means that’s not really the challenge. The challenge is selling those books which is difficult to do if people don’t know who you are. I am still trying to get my name out there and I have identified some areas where I could do better. However, you don’t have to be a celebrity or famous to start. You can start with social media and drive traffic through your blog and social media accounts. The most effective thing, though, is to get out and attend local events. Is there a book festival in your hometown? Go. Is there any event that matches what your books are about? Go to those events. Here, you’ll meet people who may be able to help you, work with you, recommend you, and help you to get your message out.

  • Target Stores that Match Your Audience

I approach black-owned bookstores because my books are about black history. There are exceptions where I’ll take a chance on a non-black-owned store (such as Tall Tales Book Shop…I love their store set-up), but for the most part my target is populations where the majority of the readers are Israelites (Blacks) and women. Why? Because my books are about the lives of Blacks in America and the lives of women. It has nothing to do with “race” and everything to do with positioning myself to be at the places where my ideal reader is.

  • Technology is Still King

Don’t overthink it with the bookstores though and forget why the Indie Revolution started in the first place. It’s good to attend events and get out and network with people face to face but don’t forget technology is still king. You don’t want to create a situation where your presence is needed to make you money as perfectly put by Cici aka “The 6 Figure Chick” on IG. That is, you don’t want to only bring in income when you do an event. Keep that online presence going. I am of the opinion that Indies with books in the store should do so as a supplement to the online business, not as the business itself.

A website, email list, social media, and a payment method are among the foundational basis of an online business (and if you’re an author with books on amazon be sure to have an Amazon Author Central Page set-up. You can learn how to do that here). Your website is your home, your email list is your connection, your social media pages (includes blog) is your traffic and interaction, and your payment method/shopping cart (including amazon) is how you get paid. If you meet people in person, it won’t mean anything without a way for them to keep in contact with you. Update your blog and social media pages regularly and continue to be consistent. Remember that your success is not the same as everyone else’s and being authentic doesn’t have to mean doing what everyone else is doing. Be you. Be disciplined. Be consistent.

Read more by downloading the entire PDF Document when you subscribe to my email list HERE.


Pictures from Friday’s signing at Tall Tales Book Shop are now available on my website HERE. Thank you to everyone who came out. If you’re in the ATL area, my next signing is December 22nd from 2-5p EST at the Medubookstore at the Greenbriar Mall.

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A New Generation of African-American-Owned Bookstores

After a steep decline, the number of black-owned independent bookstores is growing.


Mahogany Books opens in Washington D.C.

When Troy Johnson began tracking the number of black-owned bookstores in the U.S. in 1999, there were more than 325. By 2014, that number had dwindled to 54, a decline of 83%.

“They were closing left and right, and the major ones were struggling,” said Johnson, who runs the African American Literature Book Club, an online book database. Today, Johnson estimates, there are at least 108 black-owned independent stores, a number of which have opened in the past six months, marking a substantial reversal. “Last year was the first year I added more stores to the list than I took away,” he noted.

The surge in black-owned indie bookstores is notable at a time when both bookselling and publishing are wrestling with issues of workforce diversity.

Read through to the ORIGINAL article HERE.

The Power of Preparation – Guest Post by, Yecheilyah Ysrayl…

Join me on The Story Reading Ape Blog with Chris! Tonight, I am talking the power of being prepared using my bookstore journey as an example. Come on over!

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Yecheilyah and Nora at The Nubian Bookstore in Morrow, GA. Copyright©2017 Yecheilyah Ysrayl.

If you’ve been following The PBS Blog you know that I have been on a bookstore journey where I am visiting bookstores to see if I can better understand the process. The update is that I’ve been stocked in one store, two are currently reviewing two of my books, and I am hosting a double book signing event this month. Today, I would like to share a few things I’ve learned about the power of being prepared and how it has allowed me to cut through a lot of red tape.

But first, why bookstores? Aren’t brick and mortars over and done with? Not quite. Large stores like Barnes and Noble may be on the decline but Independent Bookstores are making a comeback which can have major positive benefits for Self-Publishers.

“Just take a look at the…

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The Hard Truth About Publishing—What Writers & Readers NEED to Know

OK, last reblog of the day lol. Most informative post. Quote: “But these days reviews are more important than ever. I am not going to put in a one or two star and tank the author’s overall ranking because fiction is subjective. That author just cannot please everyone.”

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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As we careen toward the New Year, many emerging writers have a goal to finally publish that novel and I hope you do! But the arts are kind of strange. We often get fixated on the creative side, without really understanding the business side of our business.

The publishing world is still in massive upheaval and it is a Digital Wild West. Old rules are falling away and new ones are emerging, but still? Knowledge is power.

In my book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World, I go into a LOT more detail and I highly recommend you get a copy if you don’t have one. I spend the first chapters of the book explaining how the various forms of publishing work so you can make an educated decision as you are building your brand.

All types of publishing have corresponding strengths and weaknesses and this is…

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Self-Publishing Questions?

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Do you have Self-Publishing or Poetry Questions for The PBS Blog?

Send me your emails at ahouseofpoetry@gmail.com and I will answer them live on my blog. Be sure to send me your contact information so we know where to find you. In the meantime, let’s take a look at our first question:

“As a Self-Publisher, do you think it’s worth it to try to get your books into the bookstores?”

In my opinion, No.

Put it this way: A Self-Publisher is a manufacturer. Bookstores are retailers. In the end I suppose it’s about one’s individual definition of success, but in truth, brick and mortars like Wal-Mart may get you the attention you need and the popularity, but you make more money distributing your books yourself even if its by way of POD publishing. You may not exactly be “making it rain”, but you have the potential to receive a royalty check for the number of books you sold. And naturally, the more books you produce, the more money you have the potential to make. You’ll get royalties from every book every month depending on which ones sold and how many of them sold the month prior. My advice is to simply skip the bookstore thing because everything is online. Just write and do some online self-promotion. There is however an offline community. But they can be driven to your electronic shelves in a number of ways (radio interviews, local newspapers, book signings, speaking events, etc.). Another way to consider, is to try to get your books into the libraries and into the  Schools  instead of the book stores. I say Library not necessarily for the money. I say the library because although everything is online, the offline community is still very much active in the libraries. Not only are computers available, but they have access to hundreds of books freely with a Library card and they can request your book if they know that it exists. That’s the focus I’m on now per offline promotion, among other things, visiting the libraries and following the protocol necessary to get into the system. As well as communicating with your local schools and getting into their systems. Again, you may not make a lot of money but the word of mouth on your new hot masterpiece will sell itself. You’ll get your book into the hands of the people and that is where you want it to be.